Vanishing Frontiers: a Javanese Plantation Emplacement, 1870s – 2000s

Hargo Yuwono, Pujo Semedi
Journal article Humaniora • 2018 Indonesia

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(English, 15 pages)


The introduction of the Agrarian Law of 1870 led hundreds of would-be Dutch planters to try their luck in the plantation business. Soon, dots of settlements where coolies from lowlands were housed emerged on the island map. Plantation emplacements were different from ordinary villages, as they were established mainly to keep the labor force ready to work. They were regimented villages. Using data collected from Jolotigo tea plantation in Central Java, this paper discusses how a plantation emplacement was established, reached its heyday, and eventually dissolved in the course of history. I will use this discussion to question the old thesis of the domination of workers by capitalistic enterprises. Is a capitalistic plantation company really powerful enough to control workers in order to guarantee its business interests?





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