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Re-Inventing Dualism: Policy Narratives and Modes of Oil Palm Expansion in Sarawak, Malaysia


  • R. A. Cramb


The policy narrative underpinning the current rapid expansion of large-scale, private, oil palm plantations in Sarawak, Malaysia, implies a dualistic conception of the agrarian transformation underway, such as prevailed in the 1950s. This narrative is inconsistent with the history of smallholder commercialisation in Sarawak. Post-1981 policy has sought to limit smallholder development and deliver large land areas to private estates, thus 're-inventing' a dualistic agrarian structure. Oil palm expansion in Sarawak has various potential pathways and is driven in its present direction, not by dualistic economics, but the exercise of state power to maximise opportunities for surplus extraction and political patronage.

Suggested Citation

  • R. A. Cramb, 2011. "Re-Inventing Dualism: Policy Narratives and Modes of Oil Palm Expansion in Sarawak, Malaysia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 274-293.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:2:p:274-293
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380903428381

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    Cited by:

    1. Cramb, R.A., 2013. "Palmed Off: Incentive Problems with Joint-Venture Schemes for Oil Palm Development on Customary Land," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 84-99.
    2. Takeshima, Hiroyuki, 2015. "Drivers of growth in agricultural returns to scale: The hiring in of tractor services in the Terai of Nepal:," IFPRI discussion papers 1476, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Montefrio, Marvin Joseph F. & Dressler, Wolfram H., 2016. "The Green Economy and Constructions of the “Idle” and “Unproductive” Uplands in the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 114-126.

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