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Continuity of hegemonic power? The case of modern plantation labour in North Sumatra, Indonesia

de Groot Heupner, S. (2020) Continuity of hegemonic power? The case of modern plantation labour in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy .

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Although it has been more than 150 years since the emergence of the plantation, labour in the democratic context of post-1998 Indonesia remains subject to similar forms of suppression. Following the distinct social and political trajectory of North Sumatra, this paper provides an explanatory analysis of the interrelation between historical hegemonic social relations and the mobility of labour in modern palm oil plantations. Following well-documented accounts of colonial plantation practices, this paper empirically examines whether it is plausible to argue that historical forms of subordination remain relevant to the political mobility of plantation labour. To guide the evaluation, I will look at the existence of historical practices of labour control on the one hand and conditions of democratic reform and structural change on the other. I argue that the modern plantation is constitutive of historically inscribed social relations that function to keep intact colonial and authoritarian structures.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
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