Iqra Anugrah

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Un, Kheang

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Political science


This study investigates why elites accommodate peasant interests concerning land rights and natural resource management at the local rather than national level and variations of local accommodation of peasant interests across districts in post-authoritarian Indonesia, a young middle-income democracy with a substantial agricultural population. Utilizing ethnographic, interview, and archival/document materials from 24 months of fieldwork with a focus on three case studies -- the national dynamics of agrarian politics in Jakarta, the land rights struggle led by the Bengkulu Peasant Union (STaB) in North Bengkulu District, and the advocacy efforts for watershed sustainability and peasant livelihood promoted by local farmers' groups and environmental activists in Serang District -- I analyzed factors shaping the occurrence and variation of accommodation of peasant interests by the elites. This study found that the presence of a unified organizational platform representing peasant communities and the convergence of interests between elites and peasants influence the occurrence of accommodation of peasant interests by the elites. This explains why there is a lack of accommodation of peasant interests at the national level where peasant organizations are fragmented and a lack of interest convergence between elites and peasants. Conversely, in North Bengkulu and Serang, the local peasants are organizationally unified and there is a convergence of interests between the local elites and the peasants, leading to accommodation of peasant interests at the local level. Moreover, this study also found that variations in local accommodation types are shaped by the degree of salience of local agrarian issues and the strength of the local civil society. In North Bengkulu, the main local agrarian issue -- land rights -- is politically salient. Furthermore, its civil society landscape is vibrant. This led to the occurrence of accommodations through mobilization in which peasant interests are accommodated after sustained peasant mobilization by STaB. In contrast, in Serang, the local agrarian issues -- environmental degradation and the declining quality of peasant livelihodd -- are less politically salient. Additionally, the local civil society landscape is less vibrant. This has led to the emergence of accommodation through corporatism, in which peasant interests are accommodated under a corporatist natural resource governance framework. Echoing Karl Polanyi, this rise of societal efforts to protect peasant livelihood and influence agrarian politics in contemporary Indonesia can be seen as an example of a countermovement against the excessive marketization and elite expropriation of social life. Relatedly, this research also highlights several important theoretical and practical implications, namely: 1) the persistence of "the peasant question" in the Global South, 2) the intersecting dynamics between agrarian changes and democratic politics, 3) the extent to which rural social movements and community organizations can contribute to democratic deepening, and 4) the extent to which political democracy can contribute to the empowerment of marginalized populations and a more equitable development outcome--in other words, the democratization of development and class relations.


Advisors: Kheang Un.||Committee members: Michael Buehler; Eric A. Jones; Scot Schraufnagel.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


290 pages




Northern Illinois University

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