Human Ecology

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 163–190 | Cite as

The practical reason of weeds in Indonesia: Peasant vs. state views ofImperata andChromolaena

  • Michael R. Dove


Peasant and state perceptions of two common weeds, Imperata cylindricaand Chromolaena odorata,are compared in four case study areas in Indonesia. Peasant perceptions are found to vary according to the similarity between these weeds plants and the fallow period vegetation in any given system of cultivation. All peasants attribute the origins of these weeds to external political authorities. State perceptions of both weeds are unvaryingly negative, based on its generally negative perception of systems of cultivation that employ fallow periods, and on its self-interest in expensive eradication programs and the alternate use of weed-covered lands. Both peasant and state perceptions of the two weeds are seen to be part of a broader structure of beliefs concerning not only plants and land, but also the relations between peasants and states themselves. This analysis demonstration that functional/ecological analysis is not restricted to local level relations, but can with equal validity be applied at the level of the state.

Key words

Indonesia functional/ecological analysis weed ecology Imperata Chromolaena Agricultural development 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Dove
    • 1
  1. 1.Winrock International Institute for Agricultural DevelopmentIslamabadPakistan

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