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The Uma-economy. Indigenous economics and development work in Lawonda, Sumba (Eastern Indonesia).
The Uma-economy: indigenous economics and development work in Lawonda, Sumba (Eastern-Indonesia) Jacqueline A.C. Vel The island of Sumba is part of a poor and isolated area in Indonesia. Lawonda is the rural area in the middle of this island, where the main souce of living is agriculture for subsistence and exchange within the region. During a period of six years the author studied the economy of Lawonda as part of the indigenous culture and was involved in field work of a development organization of the protestant church. The first part of the book describes the indigenous economy, including both the norms of proper behavior concerning economic activities and the actual practices of the poorer part of the local population. Key issues in this part are everyday life of the villagers, economic history of the region, the morality of exchange, and the local perceptions on work and land. The name Uma-economy is used to stress the importance of traditional social organization in the indigenous economy, referring to its core unit, the Uma. In spite of the rural changes on Sumba, the Uma-economy maintains its specific characteristics. The mode of thinking which prevails in the Uma-economy is the basis for the local people's assessment of new developments. The second part of the book discusses the efforts of the local population to cope with the increasing need for money. Four different ways to obtain money depict the confrontation between traditional economic behavior and thinking, and the skills that are required and rationality that prevails in the market economy. Issues in this part are the indigenous assessment of cash-earning activities, exchange networks, indigenous social security, illegal activities to obtain money, increasing rice production and the introduction of a new cash-crop. The final chapter takes up the question about the scope of development intervention within the Uma-economy. Key words: indigenous economics, economic anthropology, development studies, poverty alleviation, Indonesia, Sumba. ISBN 90 5485 308 5, 304 pages, language: English, summary in Dutch, with photographs An Indonesian translation of this book has been published in 2010: Vel J.A.C. (2010). Ekonomi-Uma: Penerapan adat dalam dinamika ekonomi berbasis kekerabatan.Jakarta: HuMa; Van Vollenhoven Institute; KITLV-Jakarta. .