A moral atmosphere of development as a share: Consequences for urban development in Indonesia

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    Corruption is a social preoccupation in Indonesia, receiving as much attention in the media as it does in journals such as World Development. The consequences of this preoccupation have escaped the attention of scholars however, a lacuna that this article addresses. Through ethnographic research of sites of stateled welfare and community driven development in Medan, Indonesia, I trace the emergence of a moral logic characterised by bagi-bagi, or development as a share. National anti-corruption discourses, lived experiences of petty corruption, and the failures of development projects to bring meaningful benefits encourage various stakeholders to manoeuvre to get a share, or take their part from the resources that flow from the state. The impact of this logic exceed its practices, however. I advance the concept of moral atmosphere to reveal the emotional and affective consequences, the ways the ever-present possibility of bagi-bagi permeates development encounters and marks individuals as objects of suspicion. Through the empirical material, I demonstrate the ways the moral atmosphere of bagi-bagi influences subjectivities, social relations, and the distribution of resources, and hence the importance of examining it as an element of the development arena.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-56
    JournalWorld Development
    Issue number108
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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