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Correlations, Causes and the Logic of Obscuration: Donor Shaping of Dominant Narratives in Indonesia's Irrigation Development


  • Diana Suhardiman
  • Peter P. Mollinga


This article analyses policy trends in Indonesian irrigation, particularly during the last five decades, from the perspective of dominant narratives, as authored, suggested and pushed by international donors. It argues that international donors' adherence to ‘deferred maintenance’ as the core element of irrigation policy problem framing does not match with farmers' and the irrigation agency staff perceptions and practices. The logic of obscuration and the discursive manoeuvers that maintain it are analysed. The article concludes that there is space for more profound conceptual contestation and for alternative actions pathways even within the ‘dominant paradigm’ to address management problems more effectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Diana Suhardiman & Peter P. Mollinga, 2011. "Correlations, Causes and the Logic of Obscuration: Donor Shaping of Dominant Narratives in Indonesia's Irrigation Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(7), pages 923-938, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:7:p:923-938
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2011.638052

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    Cited by:

    1. Suhardiman, Diana & Giordano, Mark, 2014. "Is There an Alternative for Irrigation Reform?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 91-100.

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