Contesting ‘Deforestation’: Civil Society Movements and Knowledge Co-Production in Indonesia

Maharani Hapsari(1*)

(1) Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This article explains the emergence of civil society movements around deforestation issue in Indonesia as contestation over knowledge claims that defines ‘deforestation’ as a political term. The term ‘deforestation’, which is translated into ‘perusakan hutan’ in Indonesian forestry laws and regulation, is a product of political epistemology that serve the needs to sustain state-reinforced developmentalism. It is imposed by valorization of modern scientific and technocratic values as well as bureaucratization of the forestry sector. Engaging with critical political ecology literatures, this study unpacks the constitutive interactions among various ways of seeing that redefine state forestry and its implications to the reproduction of political order. ‘Perusakan hutan’ is continuously re-negotiated in the relations between the state and its formative societal elements. Knowledge on addressing deforestation is organized around three contesting epistemologies: conservation, redistribution, and indigeneity. Each epistemology seeks to claim political space in the institutionalization of knowledge that fortifies state’s policies in the forestry sector. Politics of knowledge co-production operates at two levels: between hegemonic knowledge construct and its counter knowledge formation, and within the formation of counter-knowledge through alternative epistemologies.



knowledge co-production; political epistimology; Indonesia; deforestation; civil society movement; enviromentalism

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