The Green Revolution’s ghost: Unruly subjects of participatory development in rural Indonesia

by Marina Welker

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By Marina Welker After the Batu Hijau mine in Sumbawa, Indonesia, began operating in 2000, mine managers identified area farmers as a top security risk because they were threatening to shut down the mine unless they were given jobs there. Among various efforts to get local residents “back on the land,” the mine began sponsoring participatory integrated pest management trainings that were supposed to turn residents into productive and self-reliant subjects. Instead, these trainings evoked subjects who claimed—through their resistance to certain aspects of the trainings—that they were dependent on and entitled to conventional forms of development aid from the mine.

Batu Hijau Copper and Gold mine (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2007
.)
Batu Hijau Copper and Gold mine (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2007).
Farmers learning to make origami cranes in an exercise in practical learning (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002
. Photo by Marina Welker.)
Farmers learning to make origami cranes in an exercise in practical learning (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002). Photo by Marina Welker.
Integrated Pest Management Field School: The School Without Walls (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002
. )
Integrated Pest Management Field School: The School Without Walls (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).

Weighing rice yields from demonstration plots to compare different techniques in spacing plants (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002
. )
Weighing rice yields from demonstration plots to compare different techniques in spacing plants (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).
Left: A Sekongkang resident analyzes the structural position of farmers (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002). Right: Weighing rice yields from demonstration plots to compare different techniques in spacing plants (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).
A Sekongkang resident analyzes the structural position of farmers (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002
.)
A Sekongkang resident analyzes the structural position of farmers (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).

Farmers constructing a tower out of straws in a leadership exercise (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002
.)
Farmers constructing a tower out of straws in a leadership exercise (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).
Left: Integrated Pest Management Field School: The School Without Walls (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002). Right: Farmers constructing a tower out of straws in a leadership exercise (Sumbawa, Indonesia, 2002).All photos by Marina Welker. See: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1548-1425.2012.01371.x/abstract