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Migration, Netzwerke und Alltagswiderstand: Die umkämpften Räume der Palmölindustrie

Oliver Pye

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Schlagwörter: Palmöl, Umkämpfte Räume, TPSN-Ansatz, Migrant_innen, Alltagswiderstand


The Contested Spaces of the Palm Oil Industry.


This article uses the „Territory, Place, Scale, Network“ (TPSN) Framework  developed by Jessop et al. (2008) to uncover the historically specific  ensemble of TPSN that characterizes the socio-spatial dynamics of the palm oil industry. First it looks at how the dialectic between flows of capital  at the global scale and fixed capital at the regional scale drives territorial expansion across Southeast Asia. A specific mill-estate-scale forms the basic unit of production along transnational production networks and  accelerates the totalitarian transformation of eco-social landscapes that then produces the first category of conflicts around environmental justice. The scale of the national state is spatially at odds with the economic  space, but is politically crucial for the territorialisation of palm oil expansion. Despite this, the main political dynamic in recent years has been the production of a contested transnational political space between Southeast Asia and Europe which has been defined by non-governmental  organization (NGO) campaigns and networked corporate governance. The main focus of the article is on the new social spaces created by the  everyday resistance of migrant palm oil workers in Malaysia to the  precarious labour regime and system of political control pursued by the  Malaysian national state. Workers defy systems of control by circumventing border regulations, by absconding from work in a systematic fashion (lari), and with wildcat strikes. The paper argues that workers’ practices of  migration autonomy not only produce new transnational social spaces but they also offer potential for transnational organizing strategies and  alliances between workers and the environmental justice movement.

Keywords: Palm oil, contested spaces, TPSN framework, migrant workers, everyday resistance