Images of community: Discourse and strategy in property relations

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Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers


It is argued that divergent images of community result not from inadequate knowledge or confusion of purpose, but from the location of discourse and action in the context of specific struggles and dilemmas. The study supports the view that 'struggles over resources' are also 'struggles over meaning'. Examples are drawn from Indonesia, with special reference to Central Sulawesi. It demonstrates the ways in which contests over the distribution of property are articulated in terms of competing representations of community at a range of levels and sites. It suggests that, through the exercise of 'practical political economy', particular representations of community can be used strategically to strengthen the property claims of potentially disadvantaged groups. In the policy arena, advocates for 'community based resource management' have represented communities as sites of consensus and sustainability. Though idealized, such representations have provided a vocabulary with which to defend the rights of communities vis-à-vis states. CAB Direct


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Rural development, Ecosystem management, Community development, Natural resource management, Environmental management, Property, Resource management, Ownership, Social structures, Farm/Enterprise Scale Governance


Development and Change 27 (1996): 501-527