Institutional Activism: Seeking Customary Forest Rights Recognition from Within the Indonesian State

Suraya Abdulwahab Afiff, Noer Fauzi Rachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to explain why the adat movement activists in Indonesia could expand their campaigns for state recognition of adat community rights to activities from within the state apparatus. We argue that three combined processes have contributed to the conjuncture that made institutional activism possible: the preparation of the 2014 national election offered activists opportunities to influence the government agenda; the emergence of a conscious strategy for conducting institutional activism; and the coalitions between some key state officials and the movement’s actors. This article also analyses the problems that institutional activists faced, in particular resistance from influential actors at various government units who were not sympathetic to the adat movement’s agenda. Therefore, the impact of this activism on policy changes so far remains limited. The authors’ personal involvement in this case of institutional activism to promote customary forest provided access to the information for this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-470
Number of pages18
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2019


  • Customary Forest
  • Indigenous Land Rights
  • Institutional Activists
  • Masyarakat Adat
  • State–Movements Interaction


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