Madurese Seafarers: Prahus, Timber and Illegality on the Margins of the Indonesian State
- About the Book
The Madurese are one of the great maritime and trading peoples of the Indonesian Archipelago. This study takes readers into the trading villages of Madura, with their remarkable traditional vessels (perahu) that were powered by sail until the late twentieth century, and examines their informal-sector economic niches, notably the cattle, salt, and timber trades and the carriage of people. The book argues that the nature of village society, the physical characteristics of the island’s coast, cultural traditions of frugality and self-reliance, and an appetite for risk all contributed to the enduring success of Madurese traders.
During Suharto’s New Order, Madurese seafarers prospered through their central role in the booming timber trade between Kalimantan and Java, using great ingenuity and quasi-legal means to negotiate state laws and regulations. Based on data collected during visits to remote ports and unlicensed sawmills in Kalimantan, perahu harbors in Java, and “wild” beach ports in Madura, the book explores the inner workings of Madurese maritime trade during a critical period that brought this village-based transport industry into a modern and increasingly regulated economic environment.
- About the Author(s)
Kurt Stenross, Author