Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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The Broken Dream of Neoliberal Projects: Stalled Infrastructure Development and Its Translation in Central Maluku
Geger Riyanto

Last modified: 2022-06-03


This paper examines stalled mega infrastructure projects in Central Maluku and considers the centrality of translation in the dynamics of neoliberal developments. In Indonesia, the development of strategic state infrastructures is driven by the interest in promoting neoliberal economic growth, namely to further the extractions of natural resources. While such a description is illustrative of the projects of New Ambon Port and National Fish Reserve in Central Maluku, which are developed to allow more efficient exploitation of regional ocean resources and criticized for potentially endangering them as well as small-scale fisheries, both are also more than that. The projects become a matter of Malukan pride and people only start to pay attention to them when they evoke the uneasy relationship between the Indonesian central government and Maluku, especially after their development is constrained by limited resources and bureaucratic mess. Discourses concerning the uncertainty of the projects or why they stall are charged with jealousy of other provinces, resentment toward the central government, and reminiscent of the persistent representation of Maluku as the disregarded province. What I aim to argue through this paper is neoliberal infrastructure discourses work by being translated. In this case, the aforementioned projects are being rendered into a broken dream of being a notable and developed Indonesian province.


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