Klasse, Land und Produktionsbeziehungen in Gunung Kidul- Ein Beitrag zur agrarischen Transformation des ländlichen Java

Günter Burkard


Research on agrarian transformations in rural Java has mainly focused on issues of technology, market penetration, institutional change and demographic pressure resulting in a rapid class polarisation and the dissolution of traditional welfare mechanisms. In examining rural change in the highland regions of Gunung Kidul, Central Java, this paper shows that processes of socio-economic change in Java are not at all uniform. Under certain circumstances, instead of being substituted, so-called “traditional” arrangements and practices are even newly created. Such arrangements can formally function as welfare institutions without being the outcome of welfare-oriented decisions and motivations. Before the 70ties, sharecropping-arrangements were confined to close kin and land rent systems had not been established in the area with farmers co-operating on the basis of “generalised reciprocity”. Instead of being institutional features since “time immemorial”, such organisational devices emerged as a response to changes in the labour market induced by high rates of out-migration. Despite significant disparities in land ownership, no exclusionary contractual arrangements exist.Rur al society did not split into two unequal parts of landowners and marginalised wage workers and patron-client-relationships are only weakly developed.In difference to the lowland areas, agrarian arrangements did not foster “class polarisation”, but on the contrary secured the continuity of an institutionally independent peasantry.


social change, agrarian arrangements, welfare institutions, Central Java

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