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Local governance: policies and the resilience of village societies


Jacqueline Vel (KITLV/ Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden)

Muhammad Najib Azca ( Sociology, FISIPOL, UGM Yogyakarta)


Ahmad Erani Yustika (Director General Development and Empowerment at the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration of the Republic of Indonesia)

Bambang Hudayana (executive director of the Centre of Rural and Regional Development at Gadjah Mada University) (tbc)

Jacqueline Vel (KITLV/ Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden)

R. Yando Zakaria (Circle for Rural and Agrarian Reform, Indonesia)


Local governance; decentralization, democratization; agrarian/rural change; resilient village society; law, rights.

Thematic focus
This session addresses local governance as part of the most recent wave of decentralization policy in Indonesia, bringing more autonomy and financial budgets to the nearly 75,000 villages in the country. This policy’s major tool, the Village Law (6/2014), has been implemented since three years with the general aim of stimulating the village economy and empowering village populations. Its provisions potentially provide for a radical change of village life in Indonesia. How does this policy envisage to bring about rural development, in particular economic development in villages and empowerment of village societies? How do actors at the local governance level – in districts and villages- respond to the opportunities created by the new law? How do these new policy developments relate to the findings of academic research that has been conducted on agrarian change, village citizenship, local politics and rural development? The speakers in this panel will discuss different perspectives on whether and how (improved)  local governance will support resilient village societies. What informal institutions are at play, and how do they interact with formal institutions to shape governance outcomes? The panelists are engaged in this theme from their respective positions in the Ministry of Villages, in a network NGO focusing on agrarian change, in an academic institute for applied research and advocacy on policy reform, and in a Dutch academic institute for law, governance and society. The panelists also represent a variety of disciplines: law, anthropology, rural sociology and economics.


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