PRAKARSA’s participation in Indonesia Development Research Network Workshop, the ANU Indonesia Project

PRAKARSA as one of The Australian National University’s (ANU) Indonesia Project – the SMERU research grantees was invited to attend the 2020 Indonesia Development Research Network Workshop that was held at Pullman Ciawi Vimala Hills in Bogor, Indonesia, on 23 – 24 January 2020.

The workshop is part of the ANU-Indonesia Project activities, aiming to strengthen networking and cooperation between Indonesian and Australian researchers and institutions and attended by 45 Australian and Indonesian researchers.

The Minister of Research and Technology/National Research and Innovation Agency Indonesia, Prof. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro who spoke at the opening remarks, conveyed his appreciation to the researchers in carrying out important and innovative research projects. In addition, he also presented the Indonesian government’s future research priorities, both in the areas of natural sciences and social and humanities.

The two-day research workshop consisted of presentations by the grant’s recipients and presentations on current research on gender issues in Indonesia. Victoria Fanggidae (PRAKARSA’s senior researcher / the University of Melbourne) and the University of Sydney’s lecturer, Dr. Robbie Peters, presented the results of the collaborative research between both institutions.

The tittle of the research is “Motorbike-taxi-drivers as Infrastructure in the Indonesian City”. The research explores how the problems of inadequate urban transport and increasing underemployment in Indonesian cities have been down sourced to its men and their pedicabs, minivans and motorbikes. The research employs survey and ethnographic methods and was conducted in two largest Indonesian cities, Jakarta and Surabaya in 2017.

This study finds that many of the drivers, despite of their increased time flexibility and income, have started to be affected by harsh competition and decreasing bonus by the ride-hailing companies. Meanwhile, in anthropological lens, the study shows how the motorbike taxi drivers use themselves and their vehicles to form an insurgent infrastructure from below that serves them as much as it serves the city. The study also shows how informality evolves from one trend to another, from plants and gems petty trading to truck and bemo driving, and entering the digital economy era through digital motorbike-taxi driving or online ojek.

The Australian National University’s (ANU) Indonesia Project wishes to continue the collaboration in the coming years.

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