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Conditioning a stable sustainability fix of ‘ungreen’ infrastructure in Indonesia: transnational alliances, compromise, and state’s strategic selectivity

Wijaya, T. (2021) Conditioning a stable sustainability fix of ‘ungreen’ infrastructure in Indonesia: transnational alliances, compromise, and state’s strategic selectivity. The Pacific Review .

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09512748.2021.1884123
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Abstract

This paper is the first academic attempt to critically bridge the politics of sustainability fix with social conflict theory (SCT) focusing on Indonesia’s foreign-sponsored development of Ultra Supercritical (USC) coal power plants. I examine the contradictory development of ‘green’ projects in Indonesia and specifically unpack: how transnational politico-economic forces have secured a stable sustainability fix for the USC and how they have tamed opposition forces and reshaped governance strategies for intensified accumulation. I attempt to empirically demonstrate how such process unfold through two case studies – Cirebon II developed by Japanese and Korean companies and the Java 7 project funded by China. Albeit each have different alliance formations and strategies, both cases demonstrate that the safeguarding of stable conditions for sustainability fixes of USC power plant development is primarily determined by contestation, conflicts, and compromises between socio-political forces – international fractions of capital, state apparatuses, Indonesia’s PLN and coal oligarchy as well as broader civil society actors. They reshape governing strategies that are ultimately organised through the Indonesian state and react to the selectivity of state strategies which privilege dominant forces. The paper contributes to the existing literature on the political economy of infrastructure and serves to take state transformation into account and to dispel the ‘methodological nationalism’ view that presupposes policy outcome and institutional features are inherent to the mode of capitalism of the investor’s country of origin.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/59827
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