The post-Suharto ‘Reform Era’ has witnessed explosive revitalization movements among Indonesia's indigenous minorities or ‘customary’(adat) communities attempting to redress the disempowerment they suffered under the former regime. This study considers the current resurgence of customary claims to land and resources in Bali, where the state-sponsored investment boom of the 1990s had severe social and environmental impacts. It focuses on recent experiments with participatory community mapping, aimed at reframing the relationship between state and local institutions in planning and decision-making processes. Closely tied to the mapping and planning strategy have been efforts to strengthen local institutions and to confront the problems of land alienation and community control of resources. The diversity of responses to this new intervention reflects both the vitality and limitations of local adat communities, as well as the contributions and constraints of non-governmental organizations that increasingly mediate their relationships to state and global arenas. This ethnographic study explores participants’ experiences of the community mapping programme and suggests its potential for developing ‘critical localism’ through long-term, process-oriented engagements between communities, governments, NGOs, and academic researchers.
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