It has been seven years since the last time I wrote in this blog. I was surprised to find that this webpage was, in a way, still active. Seven year is surely not a short time, and the journey that I have been through has been, at least for me, a meaningful one. The stories were waiting to be written, even more so to the extent that these fingers were numb at first, as if they were the bottleneck that hampered the ideas to be spilt in this virtual realm.
I guess I should start from acknowledging what has not changed. What has not changed is my sincere interest in life, in people, in what is being labelled as ‘the social’ by those who speak through jargon. ‘The social’ that I’m delving now circles around human’s will towards his basic need, the need for food. But alas, food is not as simple as the conversion of energy to matter within the ecological trophic level; nor is it a sensation in our taste buds. Food is a multiplicity, and each meaning of food dovetails with each other and together they construct the social reality that we see today — of class conflict between the borguise and the proletar, of the burning nationalism set when the superpowers control and limit our access to the very resources that we proclaim to have, of the scare and distrust within the risk society over what we assume to be healthy, safe and environmentally friendly, of our desire to re-interact with the soil, water and leaves, from which our urban society has become disconnected.
In my study, I learned in a deeper philosophical stance the relations that are constructed on the basis of how human gives meaning to food, nature and anything in between. I came home to my country with a confusion, a stimulating one nonetheless. In labelling myself as a scholar with a specialty in the sociology of agriculture and food, these articles will presumably reflect my anxiety over the food relations in the country — and an emerging hope when this imagery is answered through concrete actions from fully-spirited people with sweats on their hoes, who plough the soil not because they have to, but because they are willing to do big things for their community.
I currently teach in a campus that comes to be novel at agriculture. I have met many young students that sought to learn about their world, albeit through a different spectacle — those that are dictated that you can solve the world’s problems using man-made technology, but not with the senses from which this technology (ought to) emerges. Technology cannot solve everything. But it can become the extension to our senses, and it is their job to put technology where it belongs. Technology for agriculture should be a humane one, that is able to crystallize the will to exist in harmony with nature, and not that becomes a means to exploit nature and ourselves.
Thus, please do not be alarmed if the food relations that are explored in the pages are those that stand hand in hand with capital and power relations, those that are discusssed extensively by scholars of agriculture and food in the modern times. Yet, I am not necessarily a spokesperson of class and class-relations. Part of the narratives in this blog is also about the metaphysics, in understanding the human-nonhuman relations that are constructed symbolically into reality. In other parts where real actions are spoken of, my critical point is of post-structuralist realm, in which spaces of alterity become an anti-capitalistic counter hegemony, grown within tight, albeit fertile, fractures amidst the desert of food modernization and globalization. I would like to tell stories of alternative food networks, local farming systems, community economy, and many more.
These webpages, therefore, are dedicated as a cone for my academic sphere, a world where jargon is unleashed with which meanings of food and society are acquired. A few of my research projects, studies and academic publications worthy of saying are said with a different tongue. I am hoping that appreciation grows among the readers in our many attempts to construct alternative spaces of food through discourses and praxes, for us Indonesians and the global citizens. Because of this, and by no means arrogant, I will try to sketch the narratives bilingual-ly, English and Bahasa, in the hope that this can build upon the bridge that we are weaving together, us and the world.
So, I hope you enjoy your reading!