Memories and fragments
: resource management in Central Maluku, Eastern Indonesia

  • Hermien Lola Soselisa

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This thesis explores the pattern of Central Malukan livelihood and its ecological consequences over four hundred years. Using historical, ecological, and regional approaches, and local actors' perceptions, I explore the strategic choices of Central Malukan people in making a living, using resources and shaping their environment. The core of the study, therefore, examines changes over time in local livelihoods and the landscape as results of human-environmental relations. The change in a local community and environment is very much related to their encapsulation into wider socio-cultural, economic, and political systems from pre-colonial through colonial to contemporary situations. The recent sectarian conflict in Maluku also demonstrates the interconnection of local elements and wider systems that affects local livelihood, resources and environment as well as inter-community social systems.

    Local livelihood, in using and modifying the environment, is constructed and constrained by culture. The story from Buano Island as an extended ethnographic study demonstrates how different religious cosmology may cause difference in livelihood choices, adaptation and shaping landscape.

    Through a historical perspective, this study develops an account of how the Central Maluku social and cultural system and its impact on the landscape can be understood. This account of the region illustrates variety and flexibility in historical context. The analysis of Central Maluku shows short and long-term changes and transformations of patterns of livelihood and environmental relations. From the perspective of longer-term changes, and larger centre-periphery relations, the current unrest in Maluku can be interpreted as a stage in the ongoing pattern of local adaptation to regional circumstances. While the particular events of the present are historically unique, they are consistent with the recurrent events within the long history of Central Maluku society presented in this thesis.
    Date of AwardOct 2002
    Original languageEnglish

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