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Rubber booms and peasants on the border: a case from Western Borneo. (Abstracts).

Ishikawa Noboru. 1997, Rubber booms and peasants on the border: a case from Western Borneo. Minzokugaku Kenkyu, 61(4): 586-615.

This article (in Japanese) surveys the peasants in the international border area between what is now Indonesian West Kalimantan and Malayisan Sarawak at the time of two different rubber booms, one in the 1930s and one in the 1950s. The article focuses on the exclusion of peasants from the state-led commodity production system. Turning to manipulative strategies and showing great resilience, locals engaged in cross-border rubber smuggling and persevered with non-capitalistic swidden rice cultivation. The concentration on a transnational border area is deliberate because of the scope such an area offers. Rubber cultivation in Sarawak was delayed because Brooke did not encourage it, which meant that it lagged behind other areas in Southeast Asia. By the 1920s, the Lundu area in southwestern Sarawak was also swept along in the rubber boom. With the rubber restrictions of the 1930s, a flourishing smuggling trade developed between Sambas and Lundu, which enjoyed a new lease of life in the wake of the economic chaos in Indonesia in the 1950s. The article closes with an ethnographic study of the peasant villages along the border. Coastal villages, which once relied on coconut plantations, functioned as smuggling lairs. Interestingly, with the decline of the coconut industry, the Malays have turned increasingly to swidden rice, giving lie to the theoretical premise of linear capitalistic penetration that presupposes local peasants as a passive periphery to the modern world system (adapted by Rosemary Robson-McKillop).
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Article Details
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Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:90SOU
Date:Jan 1, 1999
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