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Law, space and development: Contested space and governance in contemporary Bali

Wardana, Agung (2016) Law, space and development: Contested space and governance in contemporary Bali. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.


After the fall of Suharto’s authoritarian regime in Indonesia, state institutions were restructured and decentralised. In this process, authorities were transferred from the national government to district rather than provincial level government, fragmenting island-wide development planning. Through decentralisation, Bali's eight districts and one municipality acquired a strong sense of authority to extract revenues within their territorial borders while disregarding the impacts beyond them. Consequently, decentralisation has exacerbated environmental, cultural and institutional issues, which have become deep concerns of scholars, NGO activists and the general public. An important focus of contestation has been the re-organisation of space through the provincial spatial planning regulation.

The reconfiguring of spatial organisation pursued by policy-makers has predominantly been in order to provide space for tourism investments and market expansion. The consequent reduction of the diverse meanings and uses of space to a market-economy logic has brought controversial outcomes shaped by the dynamics of power that interface with increasingly complex legal and institutional structures. These complex structures provide more arenas for vested interests to manoeuvre, but at the same time provide different forms of legitimacy for local forces to challenge the dominant process.

This thesis contributes to the literature on law and spatial practices in Asian development. It does so by broadening the definitions of law and space, and applying these within the complex legal-institutional configurations of decentralised Indonesia. In examining three case studies of local contestation over spatial planning in Bali at Pecatu, Jatiluwih and Benoa, the thesis places the power struggles over governance of space, people and resources within these complex configurations at the centre of analysis. The thesis demonstrates the mechanisms through which social actors mobilise legal-institutional arrangements to advance their interests. It also shows the extent to which multiple and often conflicting spatial constructions, arising from diverse interests and identities at different governance scales, reflect back on the existing politicallegal constellation, with significant social, cultural, and ecological implications.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Warren, Carol, Goodie, Jo and Baker, J.
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