Northwestern University

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Diverging Paths of State-Peasant Relations and Development Strategies in the Southeast Asian Natural Rubber Economy
Northwestern University

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Rahardhika Utama, PhD Candidate in Sociology

Why did some late developing countries succeed in transitioning from the agrarian economy to industrialized economy, while others did not? Does a particular configuration of state-peasant relations determine the success or failure of development in the Global South? This ongoing research project attempts to answer these questions by studying the trajectory of rubber industry following the end of colonial capitalism and the World War II in Southeast Asia, a region that has been producing most of the world’s natural rubber supply. Focusing on cases of Malaysia and Indonesia, the study explores the diverging paths of state-peasant relations and its consequences on different development strategies adopted by political elites during the early phase of industrialization, as well as its significance in shaping a contrasting living condition between rubber peasantries in the two neighboring countries. The researcher obtained preliminary data for this study from ten-weeks ethnographic fieldwork in Southeast Asian rubber communities, archival works, as well as interviews with rubber industry stakeholders in the region.



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