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Alliances and Contestations in the Legal Production of Space: The Case of Bali

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2015

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The controversy over the provincial spatial planning regulation for Bali Province reflects the dynamic of Balinese society in the era of regional autonomy. The dynamic is polarised between expanding the tourism and real estate industry for economic reasons and constraining such expansion for the sake of protecting Bali’s environment and culture. Thus, the law governing space becomes an essential means to intervene in crafting the relations between competing interests over space. The application of the law itself is also complicated by the condition of legal pluralism which provides different and sometimes conflicting sources of legality to be used to justify the interests of legal actors. This article aims at highlighting how space is produced in a pluralistic legal setting and examining whose interests are served by the condition of legal pluralism in contemporary Bali. Employing socio-legal methods with Lefebvre’s conception of space and legal pluralism as an integrating analytical framework, the article contributes to the literature on spatial planning law in Indonesia that is dominated by “legal centralism” and a given notion of space.

Copyright © Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore 2014

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1 Interview with Ida Bagus Wisnuardhana, the head of agricultural bureau of Bali Province, 8 November 2013; see also Warren, Carol, “Off the Market? Elusive Links in Community-based Sustainable Development Initiatives in Bali” in Warren, C. & McCarthy, J., eds., Community, Environment and Local Governance in Indonesia: Locating the Commonweal (London: Routledge, 2009) at 197226.Google Scholar

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8 Several desa adat may be combined in an administrative desa dinas and vice versa. Also non-Balinese residents are usually members of the desa dinas, but not the desa adat, now termed “desa pakraman”. For detail discussion on the administrative village and adat village in Bali, see Warren, Carol, Adat and Dinas: Balinese Communities in the Indonesian State (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1993)Google Scholar.

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13 See Adhika, Made, “Dampak Komodifikasi Daya Tarik Wisata di Desa Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Bali”, in Sudjono, et al., eds., Penelitian Masalah Lingkungan di Indonesia 2011 (Jakarta: ITS & IATPI, 2011)Google Scholar.

14 Masak orang luar saja datang ke sini [Pecatu] untuk cari kerja, sedangkan kita tidak kerja? Pendatang kerja di sini kan juga makan di sini, dan kita bisa menyiapkan makan untuk mereka sehingga masyarakat di sini bisa punya usaha kecil-kecilan, termasuk kos-kosan.” Interview with Ketut Yasa by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012.

15 Adhika, supra note 13.

16 Ibid. at 213.

17 For discussion on the relationship between “cultural tourism” and “touristic culture” in Bali, see Picard, Michel, Bali: Cultural Tourism and Touristic Culture (Singapore: Archipelago Press, 1999).Google Scholar

18 Interview with Ketut Yasa by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012. He mentioned that the image of “nak bukit” recently has been improved due to the development of the tourism industry and argued that the status of Pecatu should be considered as a “city” (urban) area.

19 Interview with Ibu Mardi by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012.

20 The market value (NJOP/nilai jual obyek pajak) is the basis of land tax under current tax law (Article 6 paragraph (1) of the 1994 No. 12 Land and Building Tax Law). The NJOP itself is calculated according to the location or condition (including the use and accessibility) of the land.

21 Keluhan Kenaikan PBB MeluasNusa Bali (22 May 2012).

22 Warga Pecatu Desak Perda RTRW Bali DibekukanAntara News (4 April 2011), online: Bali Antara <> (last accessed 19 August 2013).

23 Eksekutif Diminta Bongkar Villa SulubanBali Post (8 May 2008).

24 Lefebvre, Henry, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991) at 33.Google Scholar

25 Ibid.

26 Doreen Massey, For Space (London, Sage, 2005) at 9.

27 Trevino, Javeer, The Sociology of Law: Classical and Contemporary Perspective (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996) at 353.Google Scholar

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31 Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von, “Forum Shopping and Shopping Forums: Dispute Processing in a Minangkabau Village in West Sumatera” (1981) 19 J. Legal Pluralism 117159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

32 See Vickers, Adrian, Bali: A Paradise Created, 2nd ed. (Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2012)Google Scholar; See also Burns, Peter, The Leiden Legacy: Concepts of Law in Indonesia (Jakarta: PT Pradnya Paramita, 1999)Google Scholar.

33 See, for example, Korn, V.E., “The Village Republic of Tenganan Pegeringsingan”, in Swellengrebel, J.L. et al., Bali: Studies in Life Thought and Ritual (Dordrecht: Foris, 1984 [1933]).Google Scholar

34 Inlandsche Gemeente Ordonnantie Buitengewesten 1938.

35 Warren, supra note 8 at 297.

36 For a discussion of these shifting power relations, including examples of extreme cases of “adat militancy”, see Carol Warren, “Adat in Balinese Discourse and Practice: Locating Citizenship and the Commonweal” in J. Davidson, and D. Henley, supra note 5 at 170-202.

37 Moeliono, supra note 4 at 27.

38 Economic Commission for Europe, Spatial Planning: Key Instrument and Effective Governance with Special Reference to Countries in Transition (New York and Geneva: United Nations, 2008) at 1.Google Scholar

39 Hudalah, Delik, Peri-Urban Planning in Indonesia: Context, Approaches and Institutional Capacity (PhD Diss, University of Groningen, 2010) at 45.Google Scholar

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41 For a further discussion on the connection between the spatial planning system and neo-liberalism in Indonesia see Hudalah, Delik & Woltjer, Johan, “Spatial Planning System in Transitional Indonesia” (2007) 12 International Planning Studies 291303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

42 Hudalah, supra note 39 at 50.

43 2007 Spatial Planning Law No. 26 (Government of Indonesia), Article 78.

44 Suarca, I Nengah, “Tata Ruang di Propinsi Bali”, in Hardjatno, & Harta, Febi, eds., Beberapa Ungkapan Sejarah Penataan Ruang Indonesia 1948-2000 (Jakarta: Departemen Permukiman dan Prasarana Wilayah, 2003) at 401420.Google Scholar

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46 Ibid. at 409.

47 Eksekutif Diminta Bongkar Villa SulubanBali Post (8 May 2008); see also “Kehancuran Bali Berawal dari Pembiaran Pelanggaran Perda Tata RuangBali Post (15 August 2008).

48 Their objections were related to legal loopholes in the draft favouring investors, and the lack of coherence in the academic study which was the reference for these drafts and out of date with respect to the real conditions of Bali Province.

49 Members of the team were 22 persons representing different interest groups over the use of space, which were: five from Forum Peduli Gumi Bali (NGO activists), five government officials, three spatial planning experts, three from religious and adat organisation, three academics, three from the business community. Only three women served as members of the team who were all from Forum Peduli Gumi Bali. See “Pemprov Bentuk Tim Evaluasi: Rombak Kajian Akademis dan RTRWPBali Post (15 May 2009).

50 Arya Utama & Sudiarta, “Kajian Normatif terhadap Efektifitas Perda Bali No. 16 Tahun 2009 tentang Rencana Tata Ruang Wilayah Provinsi Bali Tahun 2009-2029 serta Strategi Implementasinya” (Paper delivered at the National Seminar on Developing Bali in the Frame of Spatial Planning for Bali, UNUD, 6 May 2011) [unpublished] at 1.

51 Ibid., at 2.

52 Kabupaten Tolak RTRW Provinsi: Beberapa Bupati Sudah Teken Surat KeberatanRadar Bali (31 October 2009), online: Jawa Post Group <> (last accessed 18 August 2013). However, it has also been strongly argued that decentralisation to district level worked against coherent environmental and cultural integrity in the case of Bali.

53 Hadiz, Vedi, Localising Power in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: A Southeast Asia Perspective (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010).Google Scholar

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55 See Dwipayana, Ari, Desa Mawa Cara: Problematika Desa Adat di Bali (Yogyakarta: IRE, 2005).Google Scholar

56 For detailed discussion on the case of BNR, see Warren, supra note 10.

57 The hierarchy of temples in Bali is categorised into (1) Sad Kahyangan (highest temples of island wide importance), such as Besakih, Batur, Uluwatu, Batukaru, Lempuyang, Andakasa, Goa Lawah, Puncak Mangu, Pusering Jagat, Kentel Bumi; (2) Dang Kahyangan (temples of regional importance), with more than 100 temples across Bali, including Tanah Lot, Sakenan, Perancak, Pulaki. See Gusti Gde Ardana, Pura Kahyangan Tiga (Denpasar: Pemerintah Provinsi Bali, 1999); and (3) Kahyangan Tiga (three temples at the village level).

58 Ubink, Janine, In the Land of the Chief: Customary Law, Land Conflict, and the Role of the State in Peri-Urban Ghana (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2008) at 29.Google Scholar

59 Lucas, Anton & Warren, Carol, Land for the People: The State and Agrarian Conflict in Indonesia (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2013) at 2.Google Scholar

60 Interview with Ketut Yasa and Ibu Mardi by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012.

61 Claudia Sardi, “Big Project Erases ‘Dream’ from Dreamland” The Jakarta Post (10 February 2009), online: The Jakarta Post <> (last accessed 19 August 2013).

62 Adhika, supra note 13 at 217.

63 Made Deg v. Gubernur Bali [2010] Supreme Court of Indonesia, No. 30 P/HUM/2010, at 40.

64 I Wayan Puja v. Gubernur Bali [2010] Supreme Court of Indonesia, No. 32 P/HUM/2010, at 16.

65 Menyoroti Perda RTRW Bali tentang Kawasan Suci”, online: Mpu Jaya Prema Ananda <> (last accessed 16 February 2013).

66 Scott, James C., Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New York: Yale University, 1998) at 26.Google Scholar

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68 See Scott, supra note 66.

69 Registered as Case No. 34 P/HUM/2010 and Case No. 35 P/HUM/2010. See Utama & Sudiarta, supra note 50.

70 Ibid. This is based on 2009 Spatial Planning Regulation (Provincial Government of Bali) No. 16, Articles 96, 127, 128.

71 Rossum, Wibo van & Taekema, Sanne, “Introduction to Law as Plural Phenomenon: Confrontations of Legal Pluralism” (2013) 3 Erasmus Law Review 157.Google Scholar

72 Ibid. at 155-157.

73 Warren, supra note 8 at 290.

74 Interview with Ibu Mardi by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012.

75 Representation within banjar (hamlet) and desa adat (custom village) is customarily by male heads of household; elected and appointed representative village councils are also disproportionately male.

76 Interview with Ketut Yasa by Carol Warren, 1 August 2012.

77 Commonweal’ refers to “the general welfare of the public, as well as institutional, political, cultural and material domains through which that common welfare is pursued.” See John McCarthy & Carol Warren, “Communities, Environments and Local Governance in Reform Era Indonesia” in Carol Warren & John McCarthy, supra note 1.

78 See Hardin, Garrett, “The Tragedy of the Commons” (1968) 162 Science 12431248.Google ScholarPubMed