Master thesis gepubliceerd
De Master Thesis ‘Pushed to the margins – An analysis of identity, competition and culture at the market in West Papua’ is geschreven in het kader van de opleiding Cultures and Development Studies aan de Universiteit van Leuven.
Bekijk het rapport ‘Pushed to the margins – An analysis of identity, competition and culture at the market in West Papua’ (pdf, 1 MB, opent in nieuw tabblad)
West Papuan society is deeply polarized between Papuans and Indonesian transmigrants and further divided between the different Papuan communal groups. The arrival of the capitalist system has led to a variety of different ways in which Papuans engage with the economy. Transmigrants dominate the economic and public life in the cities, whereas Papuans lag behind and are relegated to the traditional sector. The only place where these segments of society meet is on the market, where they compete for cultural and economic space. In this paper it is argued that identity, competition and culture, intersect and shape the organisation of the market.
To analyse these aspects, 15 semi-structural interviews were conducted as part of the exploratory research into engagement with the market. Identity refers to the conception of the collective Papuan identity that binds together a myriad of different ethno lingual groups in a historical and contemporary reaction to Indonesian oppression, with a clear political message of independence. On the market the collective identity recedes to the background as the different Papuan groups compete and work together along tribal lines. Occasionally the tension and lingering resentments between these groups and the transmigrants boils over into violence. Culture has a major impact on the way that Papuans engage with the market, which is still clearly visible in the social organisation of the villages. The non-capitalist elements of Papuan society such as reciprocal cycles and ‘sharing’ have made it difficult to succeed in the capitalist system but are seen as the corner stone of social security.