The promise of education and its paradox in rural Flores, East Indonesia

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  • 1 University of Amsterdam t.schut@uva.nl
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Abstract

Development discourses often assume linear rural transitions, in which educated young people are supposed to leave their rural communities, becoming urban. However, drawing on fieldwork in Flores (East Indonesia), I argue that tertiary educated young people do return to their natal communities upon graduation. There, they want to act—by virtue of their education—as vanguards of positive change and alter what they consider backward, rural livelihoods and practices. Yet, educated young people often depend on these livelihoods and practices, too, especially when they cannot obtain work, which is common in rural Flores. To better understand the tensions inherent to these young people's position within their rural communities, I map the reasons for their returns to rural Flores.

Contributor Notes

Thijs Schut is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his PhD at the University of Western Australia. For his PhD, he studied the troubled education-to-work transitions of Indonesian young people returning to their rural natal communities upon graduating from their city-based universities. Email: t.schut@uva.nl

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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