Transmigrants Experiences of Recognitional (in)Justice in Indonesia’s Environmental Impact Assessment

Jia Yen Lai*, A Hamilton, Samantha Staddon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


This paper unpacks the environmental justice concerns of ruralmigrants in relation to land tenure and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. We explore the “geography of recognition”, whereby sense of community, identity and place interact to produce unequal experiences of recognitional justice in relation tothe EIA process. We develop our argument by using qualitative research and a village case study in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, involving transmigrant communities and indigenous Kutai people. This study highlights how a failure to recognize transmigrants’ identity creates barriers to their meaningful participation in the EIA. Structural flaws in the decentralized land-use system mean a failure to address the contested claims for recognition and land rights between transmigrant and indigenous communities, which in turn fuels social and environmental conflict. Resolving land tenure conflicts requires the empowerment of socially marginalized groups in the decision-making over land-use projects affecting them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1074
Number of pages19
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number8
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusFirst published - 2 Jul 2021


  • environmental justice
  • land tenure
  • indigenous land rights
  • recognition
  • migration
  • forest politics


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