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Rich Forests, Poor PeopleResource Control and Resistance in Java$
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Nancy Lee Peluso

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520073777

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520073777.001.0001

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Gaining Access to People and Trees

Gaining Access to People and Trees

(p.27) Two Gaining Access to People and Trees
Rich Forests, Poor People

Nancy Lee Peluso

University of California Press

From the seventeenth to the twentieth century, Java's forests and forest dwellers have served Javanese sultans and regents, Dutch traders and officials, Chinese businessmen, Japanese war planners, and Indonesian foresters. But forest people also have exerted some controls of their own. This chapter begins by discussing the probable constraints on forest access felt by Javanese forest dwellers prior to contact with the agents of the United East India Company (VOC, for Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or “the Company”). Scholars continue to debate the nature of rural life during this period. Most pertinent to this chapter are the de jure and de facto claims and controls of the Javanese sovereign and other elites over the forest dwellers' uses of the forest, and the nature of social cohesiveness in forest settlements, specifically, whether it was based on vertical or horizontal ties. The chapter focuses primarily on the first of these questions, as others have treated the second question at great length.

Keywords:   Java, forests, Javanese forest dwellers, forest access, East India Company, Oost-Indische Compagnie, forest settlements

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