Plantation Life

Plantation Life

Corporate Occupation in Indonesia's Oil Palm Zone

by Tania Murray Li and Pujo Semedi

Published by: Duke University Press Books

272 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 38 illustrations

  • ISBN: 9781478014959
  • Published: November 2021


In Plantation Life Tania Murray Li and Pujo Semedi examine the structure and governance of contemporary palm oil plantations in Indonesia, which supply fifty percent of the world's palm oil. They attend to the exploitative nature of plantation life, wherein villagers' wellbeing is sacrificed in the name of economic development. While plantations are often plagued by ruined ecologies, injury among workers, and a devastating loss of livelihoods for former landholders, small scale independent farmers produce palm oil more efficiently with far less damage to life and land. Li and Semedi theorize “corporate occupation” to underscore how massive forms of capitalist production and control over the palm oil industry replicate colonial-style relations that undermine citizenship. In so doing, they question the assumption that corporations are necessary for rural development, contending that the dominance of plantations stems from a political system that privileges corporations.