Strategic Customary Village Leadership in the Context of Marine Conservation and Development in Southeast Maluku, Indonesia

Dirk Steenbergen

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    Abstract

    This article critically examines engagements of village leaders in an NGO-facilitated participatory conservation program in eastern Indonesia. It explores how the program’s implementation strengthened leadership legitimacy of a dominant customary social group. Customary leaders ensured distribution according to particular norms, and in organizing village governance upheld specific interests and claims over natural resources. Villagers outside of the customary group remained marginalized in village governance, despite being important stakeholders. Findings reveal complex relationships between leaders and villagers that were strongly framed by orders of power and cultural history, which influenced how and to what extent peripheral groups participated. The case study concludes that village leaders can form effective avenues to deliver on conservation outcomes. However, in their preoccupation with maintaining leadership legitimacy, they may inadequately address dynamic intra-community tensions that could jeopardize long-term outcomes. Co-management partners can play significant roles in adapting management and prompting more inclusive governance processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-327
    Number of pages17
    JournalHuman Ecology
    Volume44
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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    leadership
    Indonesia
    village
    conservation
    leader
    governance
    legitimacy
    cultural history
    co-management
    comanagement
    role play
    nongovernmental organization
    non-governmental organization
    natural resources
    stakeholder
    natural resource
    Group
    Southeast
    Conservation
    Village

    Cite this

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    Strategic Customary Village Leadership in the Context of Marine Conservation and Development in Southeast Maluku, Indonesia. / Steenbergen, Dirk.

    In: Human Ecology, Vol. 44, No. 3, 06.2016, p. 311-327.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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