Local Conflict and Development Projects in Indonesia: Part of the Problem or Part of a Solution?

Abstract

Drawing on an integrated mixed methods research design, we explore the dynamics of the development conflict nexus in rural Indonesia, and the specific role of development projects in shaping the nature, extent, and trajectories of 'everyday' conflicts, especially those generated by the projects themselves. We find that projects that give inadequate attention to dispute resolution mechanisms in many cases stimulate local conflict, by injecting development resources themselves or less directly by exacerbating pre-existing tensions in target communities. Projects that have explicit and accessible procedures for managing disputes arising from the development process, however, are much less likely to lead to violent outcomes. We argue that such projects are more successful in addressing project-related conflicts because they establish direct procedures (such as forums, facilitators and complaints mechanisms) for dealing with tensions as they arise. These direct mechanisms are less successful in addressing broader social tensions elicited by, or external to, the development process. This paper was presented at 'Conflict Prevention and Peaceful Development: Policies to Reduce Inequality and Exclusion', a CRISE policy conference held on July 9-10, 2007 at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford.

Citation

World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4212, 37 pp.

Local Conflict and Development Projects in Indonesia: Part of the Problem or Part of a Solution?

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