Category Archives: Members’ Work

“The Largest Protest in Human History”: Understanding the Plight of Indian Farmers

The Melbourne South Asia Studies Group is presenting a webinar titled “The Largest Protest in Human History”: Understanding the Plight of Indian Farmers by Mandakini Gahlot, Dr. Ritu Singh and Dr. Jagjit Plahe on 11 March 2021 at 4pm AEDT (UTC+11).

The ongoing farmers protest — since November 2020 and involving approx. 1.2 million farmers — has been described as “the single largest protest in human history.” Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting against three new agricultural liberalisation laws introduced by the Central Government in September 2020. Since November, farmers have braved freezing conditions in the outskirts of the capital New Delhi vowing not to leave until the new laws are repealed. Negotiations with the Central Government have repeatedly broken down. In response to the protests, the Government has shut down the internet in some areas and security forces have cracked down on protesters and blocked demonstrations. Those supporting the protest are being labelled as “anti-nationalist.”

Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy employing over 50 percent of the working population. Farmers from the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have arrived in the capital in tractors, in trucks and on foot. These farmers have established makeshift camps on the outskirts of the city and have vowed not to leave until the Acts are repealed.

In this special webinar, two analysts who are reporting on the farmer protests, Mandakini Gahlot and Dr Ritu Singh in India together with Dr. Jagjit Plahe (Monash) working on agri-food systems will discuss

(a) Why are farmers protesting in the capital New Delhi?

(b) How has the Government reacted to these protests?

(c) What are some of the (un)intended consequences of these protests?

Presenters:
Mandakini Gahlot is a journalist based in New Delhi. She reports across platforms in print and television. She is the India Correspondent for France 24. Mandakini covers news and features from across India and neighbouring South Asian countries, particularly on issues related to health, development, gender and politics.

Dr. Ritu Singh, is presently working on Livelihood Insecurities with Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan. She completed her Masters in Economics from Ajmer University and her doctorate from Vardhamaan Mahaveer Open University. Previously Ritu worked for The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi for three years (2011-2014) on research projects related to green growth and sustainable development.

Dr. Jagjit Plahe is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management (Monash Business School). Her main research focus is on the management and organisation of agri-food systems, international trade policy and food security, global agri-food production networks and the management and organisation of equitable and sustainable food systems particularly in India. More recently, she has focussed on postcolonial analysis of small farmers’ movements in the Asia Pacific.

This webinar will be moderated by Dr Surjeet Dhanji.

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android:
https://unimelb.zoom.us/j/87580305382?pwd=U1N1US9Ya3JUUHd2WXVTWHAxTkdYdz09
Password: 900987

Or join by phone:
Dial (Australia): +61 3 7018 2005 or +61 2 8015 6011
Dial (US): +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
Dial (Hong Kong, China): +852 5808 6088 or +852 5803 3730
Dial (UK): +44 203 481 5240 or +44 131 460 1196
Meeting ID: 875 8030 5382
International numbers available: https://unimelb.zoom.us/u/keEbwvx0DX

Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:
Dial: 87580305382@zoom.aarnet.edu.au
or SIP:87580305382@zmau.us
or 103.122.166.55
Meeting ID: 87580305382
Password: 900987

Call for papers: Frontiers in Communication

Toby Miller is coediting a special edition of Frontiers in Communication with the theme FOOD, MEDIA AND THE ENVIRONMENT  – cultures, practices, policies.

The handling of different environmental risks has become an evermore present feature in contemporary society and challenges caused by climate change are among the most pressing issues. Climate change is caused by a number of factors, linked to political decisions as well as and human behaviour and choices we make in our everyday life. The food issue, and then especially the big negative impact of contemporary meat production and consumption, has frequently been pointed out as a major concern as well as a solution to the crisis. We are interested in the mediated communication of food and its implications. Addressing the issue of food and media also put a particular headlight towards the role of the citizens who in public discourse to an increasing degree is pointed out as the responsible party. This tendency can be seen in environmental discourse in general but is particularly clear in the field of food consumption. 

The issue of food is related to fundamental values and is an important part of several of the UN goals for a sustainable development: e.g. no hunger, good health and well-being, responsible production and consumption and climate action. We are interested in how food issues are communicated and framed in relation to sustainable development and then mainly climate change. We welcome contributions addressing different parts of the communication chain and studies on media production and content as well as studies of audiences/consumers and the way they engage (or not) with these issues. We also wish to address the relationship between, politics, media, science and the public.

The field of environmental communication has grown at about the same pace as the problem of climate change has been acknowledged globally as a major problem of our time and we now reach to science and environmental communication scholars to contribute with different perspectives on the issue of food and media.

Toby welcomes contributions in the wide range of problems concerning food discourses with a particular focus the on mediated environmental communication. 

EOI: Imagining rural and rural sociology futures in times of uncertainty and possibility: Progressing a transformative research agenda

Kiah Smith of The University of Queensland is in the process of putting together an EOI for a journal special issue on ‘Imagining rural and rural sociology futures in times of uncertainty and possibility: Progressing a transformative research agenda’. 

There are currently have a couple of gaps in papers around some critical themes for inclusion. If anyone in the Network is doing rural sociological research (in Australia, New Zealand, or internationally) specifically on (1) racism or (2) climate-extinction rebellion, Kiah welcomes you to contact her.

Call for mini-conference proposals

RC40 (Sociology of Agriculture and Food Research Committee of the International Sociological Association) and the Australasian Agri-Food Research Network (AAFRN) seek mini-conference proposals for IRSA XV in Cairns, Australia, July 8-12.

We seek intellectually exciting, inclusive proposals organized around academic research and practical themes. The mini-conference can be scheduled just prior or just after the Congress. The format and aims of the event are flexible. The hope is that this event will contribute to the IRSA World Congress program through engagement of members of AAFRN and RC40, as well as other IRSA participants. All proposals are welcome.

We offer special encouragement for proposals from young scholars, and we are particularly interested in proposals coming from teams that incorporate representatives of both sponsoring organizations. RC40 will provide a small financial contribution to support this event.

Additionally, AAFRN and RC40 seek proposals for a post-graduate/graduate student workshop. This jointly sponsored workshop can be part of the mini-conference or separate, and can last only one day or run for several days. The workshop should be student-focused and inclusive, and may provide participants with opportunities to work through methodological issues, explore diverse theoretical approaches, and refine their own ideas and research projects collegially with other students.

Workshop proposals should include a theme, an organising team, suggested mentors who may be mid-career or senior academics, and/or outings or fields trips in Cairns, although these are just suggestions and all workshop formats are welcome.

We offer special encouragement for proposals that include graduate/post-graduate students on the organising team. RC40 will provide a small financial contribution to support this event. Please send proposals to Steven Wolf  and Katharine Legun before April 22, 2019.

Intellectual leadership is a critical resource. Please get involved, form a team, and advance our field.

Unsettling Food Politics: Agriculture, Dispossession and Sovereignty in Australia

AFRN member, Christopher Mayes, has a new book titled Unsettling Food Politics: Agriculture, Dispossession and Sovereignty in Australia. It is available for purchase (hardback and e-book) from most online outlets, as well as directly from the publisher.

The publishers have generously offered 60% off the hardback and 30% off the e-book price. Visit Christopher’s blog to access the code for the discount (only via the publisher’s website).

An extract of the book has been adapted for an article for ABC Religion & Ethics – ‘Is eating a settler-colonial act? Food justice and Indigenous sovereignty

Limited period free access to book

For a limited time, free access to the following publication has been granted. Please use this link to access Agri-environmental Governance as an Assemblage: Multiplicity, Power, and Transformation.

Edited by Jérémie Forney, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, Chris Rosin, Lincoln University, New Zealand and Hugh Campbell, University of Otago, New Zealand

Series: Earthscan Food and Agriculture

Agri-environmental governance has become a highly complex assemblage of actors and instruments, with multiple interrelations. This book addresses this complexity, challenging research both at the theoretical and methodological levels. It draws on multiple theoretical and methodological insights, drawing on case studies from Asia, Europe and the Americas and develops a renewed approach of AEG practices as assemblages.

Publication flyer

Fair Food: Stories from a movement changing the world

Congratulations, Nick Rose, on the publication of Fair Food: Stories from a movement changing the world.

As described by the University of Queensland Press, Fair Food is an inspiring revolutionary book about the change happening here and now in Australia. Edited by Dr Nick Rose, this is the first book ever written about Australia’s fair food movement and tells the transformative stories of Australia’s food pioneers and change-makers. It is about the toxicologist who turned his Melbourne backyard into a food forest; the 3rd generation dairy farmer who lost everything and then became a champion of community supported agriculture; the mother turned GM food debunker; a vegetarian turned free-range pig farmer; and the countless new communities who’ve forged their own food networks, food plans and food futures.
Fair Food celebrates a new way of living, where the food, farmers and eaters come first, not the supermarkets and profits.

To purchase, please visit this website.

New publication – Food Utopias: Reimagining citizenship, ethics, and community

We congratulate Paul Stock, Michael Carolan and Christopher Rosin on the publication of their new book, Food Utopias: Reimagining citizenship, ethics, and community.

Routledge description:

Food is a contentious and emotive issue, subject to critiques from multiple perspectives. Alternative food movements – including the different articulations of local, food miles, seasonality, food justice, food knowledge and food sovereignty – consistently invoke themes around autonomy, sufficiency, cooperation, mutual aid, freedom, and responsibility.

In this stimulating and provocative book the authors link these issues to utopias and intentional communities. Using a food utopias framework presented in the introduction, they examine food stories in three interrelated and complementary ways: utopias as critique of existing systems; utopias as engagement with experimentation of the novel, the forgotten, and the hopeful in the future of the food system; and utopias as process that recognizes the time and difficulty inherent in changing the status quo.

The chapters address theoretical aspects of food utopias and also present case studies from a range of contexts and regions, including Argentina, Italy, Switzerland and USA. These focus on key issues in contemporary food studies including equity, locality, the sacred, citizenship, community and food sovereignty. Food utopias offers ways forward to imagine a creative and convivial food system.