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The Gendered Everyday Political Economy of Kampung Eviction and Resettlement in Jakarta

In Indonesia's capital city Jakarta, just as in many cities around the world, the forced removal of urban poor communities has a long and varied history. The eviction of uban 'kampung' villages has been more or less constant throughout very distinct phases of urban production -- from the making of Batavia as "Capital of all the Dutch Factories and Settlements in the East Indies", to Sukarno's early-independence nationalist urbanism-guided production of Jakarta, through to the present-day investor-led phase of capitalisation in the city, materialised in the form of commercial super-blocks. However, over the course of the past two years, the evictions of kampung communities have greatly intensified, and long-established village neighbourhoods including Kampung Pulo, Kampung Aquarium, and Bukit Duri have been destroyed by the state, displacing thousands of Jakarta's urban poor.

In this urgent contemporary context, this research project seeks to understand the gendered nature of community life before and after urban dispossession. The focus of our inquiry will be on women’s collective and individual lives and needs, the ways in which these shape and are shaped by the kampung ecology and economy, and the ways in which these are transformed upon eviction and relocation to social housing. In particular, it seeks to explore how the challenges presented by daily existence within a particular urban ecology inform gendered subjectivities in new and changing ways. At the same time, it considers how women cultivate the city of Jakarta through their distinct daily practices. The project further aims to reveal details of gendered urban life before and after resettlement, including, for instance, details of financialisation at the everyday level, indebtedness and means of avoiding debt, and collective and creative forms of resistance to state and other forms of violence in the kampungs.