Exploring Contradiction and Coherence of Rural Commodification in Mandalika Megaproject, Indonesia


  • Isnu Pratama Institut Teknologi Bandung
  • Delik Hudalah Institut Teknologi Bandung
  • Armei Rapudin Institut Teknologi Bandung


Commodification, Power Relations, Conflicts, Coherence, Tourism Megaproject




The Indonesian government has recently promoted megaproject development to boost national economic growth. This policy has triggered socio-spatial transformations in various regions, particularly in tourism development projects that leverage the attractions of local rural landscapes. In addition to large-scale physical development activities, the business cycles/processes inherent in mega-projects utilizing international capital investment force the governance of rural spaces to change according to entrepreneurial logic. This transformation process is closely related to commodification, where rural spaces are considered productive when activities are oriented towards commercialization and financial profit accumulation. Traditionally associated with isolated and idle space, rural spaces are now experiencing dynamic socio-spatial transformations and exposure to the external world, influencing the community's life and its physical landscape.

Research on the commodification of rural spaces in the literature shows that the original social, cultural, and spatial characteristics may be permanently lost and replaced with new features and governance logic. This leads to a contradictory process where communities often experience negative externalities from detrimental development, such as eviction, loss of livelihood, and a decline in environmental quality. However, a coherent hybrid process between original and new rural spatial governance characteristics is possible. This process is considered more just and brings positive benefits. Recent research on the commodification of rural spaces still leaves a knowledge gap regarding how these processes of contradiction and coherence can occur.

To address the research problems mentioned earlier, this research will utilize the theoretical frameworks of the Creative Destruction Model (Mitchell, 2013) and the Production of Space (Lefebvre, 1991). The Creative Destruction Model can systematically and periodically understand the process of rural commodification through the process of capitalization. Meanwhile, Lefebvre's theory emphasizes that rural space's (re)production process cannot be separated from power relations among actors and their manifestations in socio-spatial practices. Such a framework can reveal their values and perceptions of how space is reproduced. This research argues that coherence and contradiction in commodification are closely related to the efforts of stakeholders to align values and visions in planning/managing rural spaces. Furthermore, megaprojects involving complex actor relations and extensive impacts on the built environment make the effort to align values and visions increasingly challenging.

This research analyzes the commodification processes in rural tourism areas resulting from mega-project development in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The SEZ has been one of the most productive tourism mega-projects in recent years, utilizing various natural, cultural, and international sports event attractions. Through conducting a field survey, archiving secondary resources, interviewing stakeholders, and applying content analysis to the data, this research seeks to generate original insights and contribute to the field of rural (planning) studies.


Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space. Blackwell (Oxford)

Mitchell, C. J. A. (2013). Creative destruction or creative enhancement ? Understanding the transformation of rural spaces. Journal of Rural Studies, 32, 375–387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2013.09.005