This paper examines leadership, elite capture and corruption in two villages in Sumatra. It compares implementation and outcomes of several conservation and development projects in the context of democratization and decentralization reforms introduced in Indonesia since 1998. In examining aspects of elite control and elite capture, this paper focuses on the activities of local elites, particularly village officials, who use their positions to monopolize planning and management of projects that were explicitly intended to incorporate participatory and accountability features. While elites' use of authority and influence to benefit personally from their roles clearly reflects elite capture, there are nonetheless members of elite groups in these case studies who use their control of projects to broad community benefit. In both villages there is considerable friction between villagers and elites as well as among members of the local elite themselves over control of local resources. Differences in the structure of these cross-cutting internal relationships and of ties between local authorities and outside government and non-government agents largely explain the differences in degree of elite capture and its outcomes in the two cases.
- Conservation and development interventions
- Elite capture
- Local government