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Contesting the State and Corporations, Exploring socio-military organizations in East Kalimantan.

By M. Nijhuis


Although further research is necessary, this thesis has revealed some indicators that can help to answer the question of what the role of the socio-military organizations in the pursuit of land issues in the regions of Kota Balikpapan and Kabupaten Paser is. They essentially form an escape valve and quick fix solution for tensions rising due to the ambiguous position of adat in these regions, whilst forming a vehicle for local elites to combine personal with collective interests. The socio-military organizations created and currently occupy a niche between the state, society and corporations. A position which they can maintain, provided the threats and violence will successfully remain to be seen as a political tool. On the local and regional level, questions remain whether organizations can maintain their position. Not only because mutual competition is fierce, but also because the ambiguous position of the authorities towards the socio-military organizations eventually has to be clarified. This ultimately might lead towards a hardening in the conflict between the socio-military organizations and the state as the former most likely will not let their lucrative position be taken without a fight. Also allegations of criminal activities and the occasional hiring by companies of laskar divisions as mercenaries or strongmen in disputes between companies and local people could further be investigated. On a higher level, questions remain about their role and effect on ethnic conflicts, their effect on corruption and nepotism and whether they in the long term will inhibit decentralization and reform to resort the desired and permanent positive effect

Topics: Letteren, Militia, land, issues, adat, custumary, law, elites, state, society, corporation, threats, violence, politics, mobilization, crime, mercinaries, strongmen, corruption, nepotism, ethnic conflict, decentralization, resource, greed, grievance, collective action
Year: 2009
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