'Shifting ground': Renegotiating land rights and rural livelihoods in Sarawak, Malaysia

Cramb, Rob and Sujang, Patrick S. (2011) 'Shifting ground': Renegotiating land rights and rural livelihoods in Sarawak, Malaysia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 52 2: 136-147. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8373.2011.01446.x

Author Cramb, Rob
Sujang, Patrick S.
Title 'Shifting ground': Renegotiating land rights and rural livelihoods in Sarawak, Malaysia
Journal name Asia Pacific Viewpoint   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0030-8978
Publication date 2011-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8373.2011.01446.x
Volume 52
Issue 2
Start page 136
End page 147
Total pages 12
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
In this paper, we use an actor-oriented perspective to explore the nature and extent of conflict and negotiation with regard to land use and tenure among the Iban of Sarawak. The Iban are shifting cultivators who have long been involved in smallholder cash crops. We argue that the complexity of land-use change and the major shifts in land law and policy in Sarawak in recent decades, particularly those favouring the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations on both state and customary land, have created a situation of indeterminacy that can be exploited to renegotiate land rights and livelihoods. We present a case history of an Iban community that has ‘shifted ground’ several times over the past century, both geographically and in its strategic position relative to state and private sector actors. We show how, under formidable pressure from these actors, this community has nevertheless renegotiated its access to land and other resources, and opportunistically developed a diversified livelihood system that has enabled it to survive in rapidly changing political and economic conditions. While not necessarily typical, the case sheds light on the limits and modes of negotiability in the context of a strong developmental state.
Keyword Land tenure
Oil palm
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 22 Sep 2011, 15:08:39 EST by Rob Cramb on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences