M Adityanandana

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Cornell U.

Grant number

Gr. 10666

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Adityanandana, M (Cornell U.) "Politics of Distribution and Labor in Indonesia’s Resettlement Project"

With its 2.3-million-hectare Food Estate project, the Indonesian government has embarked on one of the world’s largest population resettlement programs. Resettlement has been part of state-led agricultural megaprojects since the Dutch colonial government sent Javanese to work in the archipelago’s plantation regions in the 19th century. The scheme is meant to achieve food security and reduce poverty on densely-populated islands, but falls short of both of these goals. Indonesia still depends heavily on rice imports to feed its 270 million citizens, and landless poor remain concentrated in Java. How does the state enact resettlement despite its manifest failures in helping to meet production quotas and the difficulty in calculating who is worthy of it? Through ethnographic fieldwork in two Food Estate villages in Central Kalimantan Province, I examine rationales of resettlement from the state’s perspective and the work experience of migrant farmers. By conducting archival research in Jakarta, I investigate the historical continuities and ruptures of resettlement policy over the last century. Building on the anthropology of development, literature on biopolitics, and critical agrarian studies, my research contributes to debates on politics of distribution by elucidating the contours of work amid jobless growth.