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Beyond the Catchwords. Adjustment and Community Response to Participatory Development in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Fredholm, Axel LU (2008) In Lund Disserations in Sociology 82
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Folkligt deltagande är något av en paroll i dagens utvecklingstänkande. När människor deltar i beslutsfattande och samhällsplanering på lokal nivå blir resultatet bättre och mer anpassat till lokala behov, särskilt i jämförelse med expertorienterade och centraliserade utvecklingsstrategier. Samtidigt kräver detta att folk i allmänhet vill delta och de har ett intresse av att dra nytta av deltagandets potential. Så är inte alltid fallet. Förmågan och viljan till att delta har visat sig vara mindre förutsägbar än väntat. Konceptet har därför kritiserats för att vara ett utilitaristiskt påfund som tar för givet att alla människor vill maximera de politiska och ekonomiska fördelarna.

... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Folkligt deltagande är något av en paroll i dagens utvecklingstänkande. När människor deltar i beslutsfattande och samhällsplanering på lokal nivå blir resultatet bättre och mer anpassat till lokala behov, särskilt i jämförelse med expertorienterade och centraliserade utvecklingsstrategier. Samtidigt kräver detta att folk i allmänhet vill delta och de har ett intresse av att dra nytta av deltagandets potential. Så är inte alltid fallet. Förmågan och viljan till att delta har visat sig vara mindre förutsägbar än väntat. Konceptet har därför kritiserats för att vara ett utilitaristiskt påfund som tar för givet att alla människor vill maximera de politiska och ekonomiska fördelarna.



Denna studie belyser hur folkligt deltagande fungerar i praktiken. Genom fältstudier i distriktet Bantul i Indonesien visar den hur bönder och bybor reagerar när de uppmanas att delta i lokal samhällsplanering och i skötseln av irrigationskanaler. Härigenom ges en bättre förståelse av deltagandets empiriska konsekvenser och i vilken utsträckning människor drar nytta av fördelarna.



Studien visar att deltagandet i Bantul har medfört en rad förbättringar och att folk i allmänhet utnyttjat möjligheterna. Resultatet kan förklaras på olika sätt. En viktig faktor är förekomsten av lokala institutioner som bidrar till att beslut kan fattas i konsensus utan interna motsättningar. Andra faktorer är de ekologiska betingelserna i bevattningsjordbruket och den politiska organisationen av deltagandet. Viljan till att delta kan också förklaras av den auktoritära politiska traditionen i Indonesien vilken sedan länge tvingat folk att understödja lokala utvecklingsprojekt. (Less)
Abstract
The emphasis on people-centred development is distinctive in today’s development discourse. This is noticeable in catchwords like democratic decentralisation, participation, and empowerment, which are highly esteemed among NGOs, donors, and policymakers in recipient countries.



The benefits of participatory approaches are several. When people influence the process of development, policies and projects become more effective since they reflect beneficiary perspectives on local needs and utilisation of resources. In the political field decentralisation is believed to have similar advantages. When power is relocated from central to local level and citizens are allowed to elect local representatives, decentralised... (More)
The emphasis on people-centred development is distinctive in today’s development discourse. This is noticeable in catchwords like democratic decentralisation, participation, and empowerment, which are highly esteemed among NGOs, donors, and policymakers in recipient countries.



The benefits of participatory approaches are several. When people influence the process of development, policies and projects become more effective since they reflect beneficiary perspectives on local needs and utilisation of resources. In the political field decentralisation is believed to have similar advantages. When power is relocated from central to local level and citizens are allowed to elect local representatives, decentralised decision-making may raise the level of accountability and induce institutional responsiveness to local needs.



While this assumes that people are predisposed to reap the benefits of participation and take part in politics and planning without restraint, the capacity and willingness to participate is a debated issue. There is evidence that the utility of participation is difficult to integrate with the conditions at local level and that the behavioural assumptions are unpredictable. The concept is allegedly a utopia that takes for granted that all human beings are inclined to capitalize on participatory programmes and policies.



With reference to Indonesia, this study explains what happens when people participate in irrigation management and community-driven development. Based on interviews and field observations in Bantul Regency, Java, it examines the extent to which farmers, water users, and rural dwellers fulfil the behavioural assumptions. It also highlights how participation influences agriculture and rural development in material terms, e.g. how it affects water distribution, cultivation techniques, road constructions etc.



The study concludes that the residents in Bantul make the most of the opportunity to participate. As a result, water management, agriculture, and community development work efficiently. The participatory spirit may be explained by the prevalence of reciprocal attitudes towards community development at local level. Further explanations are the ecological foundations of irrigation which create incentives to participate, and the impact of supportive elements in the organisational approach to participation. However, the enthusiasm may also be a consequence of the authoritarian legacy in Indonesian politics. Since participation in community development was compulsory under Suharto, it is difficult to know if people participate to appease the authorities or if they do it on a voluntary basis. Taking this into consideration the outcome is contradictory and may undermine the capacity of autonomous decision-making. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Dr Peter, Taylor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
community development, agriculture, irrigation, reformasi, Indonesia, decentralisation, Bantul, participation, Java, sociology, sociologi
in
Lund Disserations in Sociology 82
pages
178 pages
publisher
Department of Sociology, Lund University
defense location
Kulturens auditorium
defense date
2008-05-16 09:15
ISSN
1102-4712
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4d447cb4-7d72-4ed5-8699-d1738c2dfd1d (old id 1059150)
date added to LUP
2008-08-19 14:51:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:48
@phdthesis{4d447cb4-7d72-4ed5-8699-d1738c2dfd1d,
  abstract     = {The emphasis on people-centred development is distinctive in today’s development discourse. This is noticeable in catchwords like democratic decentralisation, participation, and empowerment, which are highly esteemed among NGOs, donors, and policymakers in recipient countries. <br/><br>
 <br/><br>
The benefits of participatory approaches are several. When people influence the process of development, policies and projects become more effective since they reflect beneficiary perspectives on local needs and utilisation of resources. In the political field decentralisation is believed to have similar advantages. When power is relocated from central to local level and citizens are allowed to elect local representatives, decentralised decision-making may raise the level of accountability and induce institutional responsiveness to local needs.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
While this assumes that people are predisposed to reap the benefits of participation and take part in politics and planning without restraint, the capacity and willingness to participate is a debated issue. There is evidence that the utility of participation is difficult to integrate with the conditions at local level and that the behavioural assumptions are unpredictable. The concept is allegedly a utopia that takes for granted that all human beings are inclined to capitalize on participatory programmes and policies. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
With reference to Indonesia, this study explains what happens when people participate in irrigation management and community-driven development. Based on interviews and field observations in Bantul Regency, Java, it examines the extent to which farmers, water users, and rural dwellers fulfil the behavioural assumptions. It also highlights how participation influences agriculture and rural development in material terms, e.g. how it affects water distribution, cultivation techniques, road constructions etc. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The study concludes that the residents in Bantul make the most of the opportunity to participate. As a result, water management, agriculture, and community development work efficiently. The participatory spirit may be explained by the prevalence of reciprocal attitudes towards community development at local level. Further explanations are the ecological foundations of irrigation which create incentives to participate, and the impact of supportive elements in the organisational approach to participation. However, the enthusiasm may also be a consequence of the authoritarian legacy in Indonesian politics. Since participation in community development was compulsory under Suharto, it is difficult to know if people participate to appease the authorities or if they do it on a voluntary basis. Taking this into consideration the outcome is contradictory and may undermine the capacity of autonomous decision-making.},
  author       = {Fredholm, Axel},
  issn         = {1102-4712},
  keyword      = {community development,agriculture,irrigation,reformasi,Indonesia,decentralisation,Bantul,participation,Java,sociology,sociologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {178},
  publisher    = {Department of Sociology, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Disserations in Sociology 82},
  title        = {Beyond the Catchwords. Adjustment and Community Response to Participatory Development in Post-Suharto Indonesia},
  year         = {2008},
}