Land Discourses, Patronage, And The 2018 Village Election In Baleharjo, Yogyakarta

Fikri Disyacitta(1*), Darnik Wulandari(2), Anastasia Imelda Cahyaningrum(3)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(2) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(3) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This article explores how village chief candidates can utilise a suburban community's understanding of public land use to mobilise political support, taking as its example the village chief election in Baleharjo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This article argues that, where village residents still rely on land for their welfare, candidates can politicise land grievances to gather popular support. In Baleharjo, the incumbent received the backing of merchants and investors from predominantly non-agrarian pedukuhan (hamlets) who felt that they had benefitted from the use of village-controlled land for tourism purposes. At the same time, the challenger recognised the hardships of farmers who had been deleteriously affected by such use of village-controlled land, and thus mobilised them on voting day. Applying a qualitative approach, data for this article were collected through interviews and participatory observation over the course of October 2018.


Land, land grievances, village elections, patronage, suburban

Full Text:



Aspinall, E., & Rohman, N. (2017). Village head elections in Java: Money politics and brokerage in the remaking of Indonesia's rural elite. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 48(1), 31–52. Retrieved from

Aspinall, E., & Sukmajati, M. (2015). Politik uang di Indonesia: Patronase dan klientelisme pada pemilu legislatif 2014. Yogyakarta: PolGov.

Bernstein, T. P. (2006). Village democracy and its limits. ASIEN, 99, 29–41. Retrieved from

Bintarto, H. R. (1969). Geografi desa. Yogyakarta: Spring.

Boone, C. (2011). Politically allocated land rights and the geography of electoral violence: The case of Kenya in the 1990s. Journal of Comparative Political Studies, 44(10), 1311–1342. Retrieved from

Dinas Pariwisata Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta. (2018). Statistik Kepariwisataan 2017. Retrieved from

D'Arcy, M., & Nistotskaya, M. (2019). Intensified local grievances, enduring national control: The politics of land in the 2017 Kenyan elections. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 13(2), 294–312. Retrieved from

Fearon, J. D., & Laitin, D.D. (2003). Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war. The American Political Science Review, 97(1), 75–90. Retrieved from

Hennings, A. (2015). Resistance against large-scale land acquisitions: Bougainville's peace process under threat? In Land Grabbing, Conflict and AgrarianEnvironmental Transformations: Perspectives from East and Southeast Asia. Chiang Mai: BRICS Initiatives for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS).

Kennedy, J. J.(2009). The price of democracy: Vote buying and village elections in China. Asian Politics and Policy, 2(4), 617–631. Retrieved from

Klaus, K., & Mitchell, M. I. (2015). Land grievances and the mobilization of electoral violence: Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire and Kenya. Journal of Peace Research, 52(5). Retrieved from

Mulyanto, D. (2009). Kapitalisasi dalam penghidupan perdesaan. Bandung: Yayasan Akatiga.

O'Brien, K. J., & Han, R. (2009). Path to democracy? Assessing village elections in China. Journal of Contemporary China, 18(60), 359–378. Retrieved from

Kejaksaan Republik Indonesia (2013, August 26). Kejari Wonosari Menahan Pj Kades Baleharjo. Kejaksaan Republik Indonesia. Retrieved from

Pranoto, C. B. (2017). Pembangunan negara, hukum pertanahan Indonesia, dan kembalinya tanah kasultanan di Yogyakarta. Jurnal Politik, 3(1), 21–51. Retrieved from

Priyatmoko, H. (2017). Konflik tanah bengkok di pedesaan Jawa kontemporer. Jurnal Bhumi, 3(1), 35–50. Retrieved from

Sakai, S. (2015). Insecurity of Taukei land as an issue in the 2014 general election: Real threat or political gimmick?. The Journal of Pacific Studies, 35(2), 49–64. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2012). Land and conflict. Retrieved from

Wiradi, G., & Tjondronegoro, S. M. P. (1984). Dua abad penguasaan tanah: Pola pengusaan tanah pertanian di Jawa dari masa ke masa. Jakarta: Gramedia.

Yandri, P. (2017). The political geography of voters and political participation: Evidence from a local election in suburban Indonesia. Indonesian Journal of Geography, 49(1), 57–64. Retrieved from

Yao, Y. (2009). Village elections and redistribution of political power and collective property. The China Quarterly, 197, 126–144. Retrieved from .

Yuningsih, N. Y., & Subekti, V. S. (2016). Demokrasi dalam pemilihan kepala desa? Studi kasus desa dengan tipologi tradisional, transisional, dan modern di provinsi Jawa Barat tahun 2008–2013. Jurnal Politik, 1(2), 231–261. Retrieved from


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 2303 | views : 1599


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 PCD Journal

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

analytics View My Stats

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.




                                © Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Gadjah Mada University Jl. Sosio-Yustisia Bulaksumur Yogyakarta 55281
                                                     Telp (0274) 563362 Ext. 150; +62 811 2515 863 - email: