Event — IIAS lecture

Drinking with the Devil. Plantation community and world capitalism in Java, 1870s-2000s

IIAS lecture by Dr Pujo Semedi
Dept. of Anthropology, Gadjah Mada University - IIAS
Discussant: Dr Manon Osseweijer

Friday, 13 January 2006
15.00 hrs
Spinhuis, Room 001
O.Z. Achterburgwal 185, Amsterdam

This historical ethnographic research focuses on Indonesian plantations in the post-colonial era. The plantations were established in the colonial time for the benefit of European owners. Apparently the emergence of the post-colonial state should not be interpreted as signalling the demise of colonial's mode of production. Both the post-colonial regime and its colonial predecessor were confronted with similar burdens: securing income for the state budget and providing jobs for its citizens. Plantations possessed a great potential to serve these functions. Yet, the extent to which these functions are still met in post-colonial Indonesia remains unclear. Can companies that flourished under direct and indirect protection of the colonial state, survive in the post-colonial era simply by-as Alec Gordon said-reducing themselves into "ordinary capitalist estates"? If this was the case, is this post-colonial "ordinary capitalist estate" capable in bringing the plantation and its community into a better position? Does the post-colonial plantation enable the community to deal with its underpinning power, namely world capitalism?