Can Formalisation of Adat Land Regulation Protect Community Rights? The Case of the Orang Asli Sorowako and the Karongsi'e/Dongi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Formalisation of customary rights in land is currently being pursued by an increasing number of Indonesian rural communities, who wish to protect their livelihoods and prevent dispossession in favour of commercial concessions. This trend has accelerated during the current presidency (Joko Widodo). This is a dramatic shift from the denial of recognition of customary rights during Soeharto's New Order. This article reports on the ongoing efforts by the indigenous peoples of Sorowako, South Sulawesi, who lost their land to a multinational mining concession during the New Order, to have their rights acknowledged and their economic losses compensated. I argue that in the current political era, their claims of indigenous status have been overlooked by the state which has given recognition to another group who are more able to enact the current 'script' of indigeneity. And in a significant shift, the contemporary generation of young indigenous adults in Sorowako emphasise their claims for cultural recognition as well as for distributive rights. This case leads me to question whether formalisation of customary rights, which in essence means converting them to individual title, addresses the questions of distributive justice that gave rise to claims of customary rights in the New Order period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)471-486
    JournalThe Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Volume20
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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