Gendered Experiences of Dispossession: Oil Palm Expansion in a Dayak Hibun Community in West Kalimantan


White, Julia, and Ben White. 2012. “Gendered Experiences of Dispossession: Oil Palm Expansion in a Dayak Hibun Community in West Kalimantan.” Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (3-4): 995–1016. 

Authors: Julia White, Ben White


This article explores the gendered experience of monocrop oil-palm expansion in a Hibun Dayak community in Sanggau District, West Kalimantan (Indonesia). It shows how the expanding corporate plantation and contract farming system has undermined the position and livelihood of indigenous women in this already patriarchal community. The shifting of land tenure from the community to the state and the practice of the ‘family head’ system of smallholder plot registration has eroded women’s rights to land, and women are becoming a class of plantation labour. At the same time, as in other cases of expansion of agrarian corporate commodity production, we can discern a familiar pattern of ambivalence between, on the one hand, the attractions of regular cash income and, on the other, the loss of resource tenure and autonomy, which helps to explain the community’s gendered experience of coercion, exploitation, intimidation, consent and resistance.

Keywords: oil palm, land grab, contract farming, gender, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Indigenous, Land Grabbing, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2012

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