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DOI

10.5642/envirolabasia.20170101.08

Abstract

The market and community are always intertwined, and sustained through economic power, social obligations and ideologies. In Sarawak, Malaysia, the expansion of land use for the development of cash crops and energy infrastructure has faced resistance from indigenous communities who depend upon land for subsistence lifestyles. In this encounter, values and cultures are reworked, and the ways in which the community and market rely upon each other in the community changes. The examination of the rice and wild foods sustenance lifestyle of the indigenous Kenyah in Sarawak, Malaysia, and resistance against land development projects, suggest that in the conflicts over land use, the indigenous groups increasingly view themselves less as subsistence farmers and more as autonomous landowners. During these encounters, indigenous groups become increasingly dependent on the market, but in doing so, construct an identity that is even more communal, although without any cultural specificity.