Producing Wealth and Poverty in Indonesia’s New Rural Economies

The study of rural societies in the global south undergoing rapid change is an old theme in social anthropology, although it has been seriously neglected in the past two decades. In Indonesia, after a flurry of research on the impacts of the green revolution in rice production, and some studies of the significance of off-farm work in making up rural livelihoods, emphasis shifted towards the study of environment, forest management, and indigenous knowledge.

The program is to explore well-established themes in rural, agrarian relations in Indonesia, in the last three decades especially in relation with introduction of new cash crops such as palm-oil in West Kalimantan and potato in upland Java.


  • To examine the social relations through which rural people gain access to, or are excluded from, the benefits of high growth agriculture in Indonesia
  • To contribute to debates on poverty reduction and social protection, a core concern of transnational and national development agencies
  • To renew the theoretical and methodological repertoire through which social anthropologists study rural dynamics in a landscape in which “the village” and “the household” are not key units of analysis
  • To train a new generation of scholars in rural research in the global south
  • To contribute to research and training on agrarian studies in Indonesia through a collaborative works between the Departments of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Gadjah Mada University


  • Field school in upland sub-districts of Pekalongan, Central Java, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016
  • Field school in upland sub-districts of Pemalang, Central Java, 2012, 2013, 2014/li>
  • Field school in Buayan River area, Meliau sub-district, West Kalimantan, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014
  • Field school in Dieng Plateau, 2010, 2012