, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 281–292 | Cite as

Politics of technology in the informal governance of destructive fishing in Spermonde, Indonesia

  • Adam GrydehøjEmail author
  • Nurliah Nurdin


Technology has politics and plays a role in societal governance. This article explores the fishing community of Karanrang island (Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia) to consider how fishing technologies reinforce existing power structures in the local informal governance system. Informal governance actors deploy the politics of technology in order to manage a socially problematic and environmentally destructive fishing economy. In the punggawa-sawi system of patron-client relationships, fishers are economically dependent on patrons, who supply them with fishing technologies like boats, bombs, and cyanide. The patrons themselves are embedded in a complex governance network, encompassing corrupt police and officials, importers, and live food fish traders. The politics of technology contribute to maintaining the local informal governance system of patron-client relationships. This paper draws upon theories from science and technology studies and network governance to argue that although patron-client relationships are problematic in themselves, the politics of technology further maintain power imbalances.


Politics of technology Informal governance Science and technology studies Destructive fishing Patron-client relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Island DynamicsCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Institut Pemerintahan Dalam NegeriJakartaIndonesia

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