Governing the commons: What we can learn from each other's (not so) foolish disciplines 11 March 2021
What happens when you put together a Cultural Anthropologist and an Environmental Geographer, no-one ever asked. But it happened anyway when we, Leen Felix, PhD at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, working in the European TERRANOVA project as Environmental Geographer, and Vincent Walstra, Cultural Anthropologist, doing a PhD at Leiden University, working in the ERC ‘Food Citizens?’-project, met each other. As a couple we tend to bother each other with our thoughts. Surprisingly often, our qualitative micro study of culture and quantitative macro study of landscapes cross topics. In this interdisciplinary blog we present a snapshot of the friction between our bottom-up and top-down perspectives. The vastness of information in the contemporary globally interconnected world often forces citizens, politicians, businesspeople, and scientists alike, into a narrow-minded, even stubborn simplification of a complex reality, refraining from challenging their own worldviews. This blog will not give answers to how to combine qualitative and quantitative methods in an optimal mode of governing. Instead, the following dialogue illustrates a situation in which we often find ourselves, as two young, stubborn academics picking each other’s brains about a shared topic of interest, in this case, ‘the commons’. By listening to and questioning each other’s alien visions, we broaden our understanding as we find ways to grasp the complexity of topics we thought we understood.
PhD candidate Vincent Walstra features his research and academic work in various media 15 February 2021
It is always a pleasure when a young academic can reach out to the broader public and discuss his/her research's societal relevance and impact. Our own Vincent Walstra has been doing very well on disseminating his work and featuring in various media. This is a list of his recent publications and interviews.
Utrecht: Unexpected allies and food activism in quarantine 01 February 2021
It is February 2021 and Europe is still tormented by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the continent and beyond, strict restrictive measures are put in place to halt the spread of the virus. The intensity of the measures reaches but doesn’t exceed those of March 2020 when Europe and much of the western world stood still but our collective “lockdown after lockdown” fatigue most certainly does. This blogpost is a reflection on the food relief initiative that I was involved in in Utrecht, the Netherlands between May and August 2020. During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and soon after the subsequent closing down of shelters providing food to homeless and other vulnerable groups in the city, a group of volunteers set up a cooking and distributing team to fill the gap. This initiative provided support to people who otherwise would have been left exposed to the abrupt suspension of their food assistance amidst the first lockdown. It was brought to life thanks to the support of art institution BAK, social center ACU and the involvement of various volunteers.
A multi-disciplinary conversation about urban transformation in Turin The case of Mirafiori Sud 04 January 2021
During my fieldwork in Turin I had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with several researchers investigating same areas and projects but from a different disciplinary angle. Despite the dissimilar research questions and methodologies, such exchanges always enriched my understanding of the context and benefitted my analysis. This blogpost reports on one of these conversations, which Alessandro Pisano, political science student at the University of Turin, and I had with regards to the transforming neighbourhood of Mirafiori Sud. Why did we both focus on this peripheral area? How did we approach the study of its transformation? What are our analyses of the impact of local urban greening and food production projects?
Food Citizens? at the EuroScience Open Forum 2020 Trieste 19 October 2020
Image from ESOF Forum programme page.
Post-fieldwork workshop day in Utrecht 16 September 2020
On Monday 7 September Food Citizens rejoined after the end of fieldwork during a workshop day at the old mill yard 'Molen de Ster' in Utrecht.
Impact of COVID-19: Digital food collectives in Rotterdam 25 June 2020
Empty train stations, canceled holidays, sick acquaintances, shortage of hospital beds, people hoarding toilet paper… COVID-19, the Corona-virus that caused a pandemic, has disrupted everyday life, flooded the healthcare system, and halted the economy. Daily talk is all about the Coronacrisis, but where normal live has been distorted, alternative social interactions emerge. The digital space is booming through video chatting, online teaching and meeting, as bulletin board for offering help, for organizing solidarity initiatives, and for pure entertainment. In this review, I will reflect on the influence of the Coronacrisis in my research field in Rotterdam. From my apartment, after nearly two weeks of isolation, I feel the urge to write about this crisis with special attention to digital activities related to the research topics of collective food procurement and citizenship. Since measures and knowledge change almost daily, it is important to note that this review is written on Thursday and Friday the 26th and 27th of March 2020.
Torino: From food to demands 09 June 2020
“Neighborhood solidarity cannot compensate the absence of the State: a response from the local administration is needed”
II Food Sovereignty Forum in Warsaw, Poland 06 April 2020
Between the 30th of January and the 2nd of February 2020 around 250 people took part in the II Polish Food Sovereignty Forum.
Herenboeren Rotterdam: Farming for the Future 02 March 2020
Consumers are encouraged to think of food production and consumption as amoral activities – Michiel Korthals in his book Goed Eten: Filosofie van voeding en landbouw (2019, 353)