Thank you so much for the participants and audience, we were able to finish the workshop in success. Please check here to download and view the summary report.
Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University is holding an international workshop in February, 2020.
How does the consumption of food, clothes, luxury products affect social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability?
How does, or should, business contribute to the development of sustainable society and economies?
Who are the main actors in these processes?
We will seek the answers to these questions and the way to convey the knowledge to next generation researchers.
All are welcome!
Please register: Registration (closed!)
Detailed Schedule (pdf) updated on 17th of February
- Creating “Sustainable” Business by Ai Hisano (Kyoto University)/web
“Sustainability” is everywhere. Today, the term is used commonly and widely in political debates, media, and corporate marketing. For many businesses, being “sustainable” is now part of their corporate responsibilities. Consumers, too, are increasingly interested in “sustainable” products and ways of living. This ubiquitous use of the concept, however, has also led to the situation where the meaning of sustainability became unclear, or it could mean anything. In order to understand how sustainability gained the current impetus, it is critical to analyze what it meant/means to society across time and space. This presentation explores how ideas about sustainability developed and changed over time, analyzing the concept as a political, social, and cultural construct. In particular, it discusses how so-called “green business” emerged as a historical product by focusing mainly on the food industry and to some extent other industries, including cosmetics and energy.
- Farms at the Frontier: New Zealand’s farms and the Imperial Food Regime by Hugh Campbell (University of Otago, NZ)/web
Food regime approaches provide the opportunity to examine specific conjunctures of economy, political structures and ecologies in the elaboration of global-scale food relationships. In this presentation, the Imperial Food Regime is examined as it took shape in New Zealand in the second half of the 19th century. The damaging character and consequences of the regime are elaborated in terms of the ‘frontier-making’ politics of farms. During the 19th century, farms were a significant agent in establishing both political and ecological frontiers in New Zealand and separating European and indigenous Maori farming worlds. By examining the work of farms in breaching these frontiers and stabilising new ecological and social orders in colonised spaces, some of the dynamics around which the proto-capitalist farm economy emerged in the colony of New Zealand can be revealed. This analysis provides a significantly different way to understand the power and consequences of family farming in the Imperial Food Regime and provides interesting insights into how European farming worlds destroyed indigenous land-use and established capitalist farming economies in British colonies.
- Political economy of transforming soy oil into everyday foodstuff: from energy to industrial-military material, then to cheap calorie by Midori Hiraga (Kyoto Tachibana University)/web
— Chaired by Tsilavo Ralandison (Kyoto University)
- Sustainability Washing: Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food by Shuji Hisano (Kyoto University)/web
Now the concept of sustainability is seemingly commonly shared among all the stakeholders in the international community, as typically represented by the launch and progress of SDGs, in which the inherently political nature of sustainable development tends to be depoliticised. As Konefal (2018) mentioned, recognising food, nutrition and environmental crises we are facing now, a multitude of actors and initiatives claim to be committed to working towards sustainability, but with different and sometimes contested visions and approaches, and therefore we need to bring “politics” back into the concept of sustainability.
There have been a lot of discussion and critical studies about corporate greenwashing, how the trend of environmentalism is “hijacked” by corporate actors (Welford 1997; Bruno & Karliner 2002). These corporate actors have the power (discursive power) to engage in creating, manipulating and disseminating “knowledge” through PR agencies, think tanks and professional networks regarding their socially and environmentally responsible business strategies, while also yielding their instrumental and structural power (Fuchs 2007) to tame the government and circumvent legally-binding environmental regulations in favour of voluntary and market-based approaches. In contrast to what ecological modernization theory and its proponents have argued and made us believe that corporate actors, or the capitalist system in general, are reflexive enough to contribute to greening economy and sustainable development (Spaargaren & Mol 1992), there are a lot of evidences that require us to update our understanding of the way of corporate takeover of sustainable development in general, and sustainable agriculture and food in specific (e.g. Scanlan 2013).
In this presentation, first, I describe the overview of corporate discursive strategies to frame “sustainability” for their own interest, as criticised as greenwashing, grainwashing, healthwashing and/or bluewashing. Then, by looking at several episodes, namely, climate smart agriculture (e.g. GMOs, precision agriculture, vertical agriculture), biofortification (e.g. Golden Rice), and plant-based meat, I illustrate how “sustainability discourses” are created and disseminated by corporate actors and how these actors are attempting to improve their image and justify their “little-bit-better” but “largely business-as-usual” activities. Throughout my presentation, however, I also aim to give an implication for theoretical and methodological arguments regarding the conflictual and dichotomous framing of structure and agency, macro and micro, global and local, or totality of system and diversity of activities, expecting that my political economy approach and focus on corporate power over the society would invite criticism from the diverse economies and new imagining approach.
- A conventionalization of halal? Corporate penetration in halal slaughter standards in Indonesia by Anom Sigit Suryawan (Kyoto University)
- Agents of circulation of corporate packaged food in Metro-Manila’ slums: A Marxian approach by Heriberto Ruiz Tafoya (Institute on Social Theory and Dynamics, Japan)/web
Ernest Mandel already informed us in the introduction to capital Vol. II (Marx, 1976 ) that this book was the least studied by Western Marxists and therefore the least understood. Now in the late 2010s, I also venture in the study of circuit of commodity capital but having in consideration three historical circumstances. First, the urban population exceeds the rural. Second, there are more than 850 million of slum dwellers in industrial-lagged countries. And third, the volume and variety of corporate packaged food (CPF) that urban people consume did not exist neither in time of Marx and Engels nor in Mandel’s time itself. Therefore, I will clarify the understanding of the agents of circulation (Marx, 1885:442) of CPF in one of the large cities in the global south and critically counterbalance the hegemonic academic terminology – politically sterile – that calls them suppliers or channels, either formal/informal or legal/illegal. In particular, I propose that the identified seventeen urban agents of the circulation of CPF can be triple-classified: first, according to their residential location; second, according to the way in which the commodity was introduced to the precarious home; third, according to the agent’s class.
— Chaired by Hart Feuer (Kyoto University)/web
- ⎸Sustainability ⎸and (Anti-Politics)2 by Joost Jongerden (Wageningen University, NL)/web
The concept of sustainable development has been one of the most fashionable concepts in the last decades. In ‘Our Common Future’, the landmark publication of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development was defined as ‘…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The commission, chaired by former (and later) prime-minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, argued that “[w]e borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying” and “act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions”. To save the future for present generations, the report furthermore stated that “the present generation must begin now, and begin together” and “absorb the effects of human activities” in order “to keep “options open for future generations”. In 2017, at what was said to be the 30th anniversary of the concept of sustainable development, it was celebrated that the concept had brought together “the industrialized and developing nations to delineate the ‘rights’ of the human family to a healthy and productive environment”. Though various authors have argued that contemporary threats to sustainability are universal and a threat to humanity as a whole, elevating the frame of analysis to humanity as a whole also erases the political history of climate change, soil degradation, pollution, etc. and obscures the production of differentiated vulnerabilities. This makes sustainability not only one of the most important, but also one of the most dangerous concepts of our time. It highlights the pressing nature of the disruption of nature, but mystifies the relational context in which this potential catastrophe has been produced. Fierce critique on the depoliticising character of the ‘sustainability threatens the human family’ approach comes from the field of political economy. From the perspective of the ‘metabolic rift’ to ‘capitalism as ecology’, political economy highlighted the destructive character of capitalism. Though political economy provides a useful lens for an analysis of the relational context of (un)sustainability and understanding differentiated vulnerabilities, its conceptualizations work as a mental barrier to the imagination of a world beyond capitalism. In this presentation I will problematize this double-anti-politics in the sustainability debate: 1) the anti-politics in elevating the frame of analysis to humanity as a whole and 2) the anti-politics in the presentation of capitalism as an obdurate structure occupying the totality of social space. Moreover, I will argue that a diverse economies approach, and the idea of multiple determinations, provides a useful lens for both critique on the a-political character of the current sustainability discourse as well as firm ground for the development of alternative, more sustainable, futures.
- Imagining Alternative (Food) Waste Futures through Community Composting in New York City by Oona Morrow (Wageningen University, NL)
- Making city-region foodscapes a reality: Mending the metabolic rift from within by Martin Ruivenkamp (Wageningen University, NL)
- Opening up spaces of possibility: the role of arts-based methods by Anke de Vrieze (Wageningen University, NL)/web
As Einstein famously stated, ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’. Within the field of sustainability science, there is a growing awareness that scientific knowledge itself cannot change the problems we are facing and that we need other ways of ‘doing science’. A shift, marked by some, as a shift from ‘knowledge-first’ to ‘process-oriented’ approaches in which the role of the researcher moves from ‘knowledge provider’ to knowledge broker, facilitator or even change-agent. Departing from a performative ontology, a key question then becomes: ‘how can our work as scientists open up spaces of possibilities for ‘other’ worlds?’
From 2015-2019, the EU-funded project SUSPLACE trained 15 Early Stage Researchers in place-based research for transformative change. Inspired by the wish to contribute to opening up spaces of possibility for regenerative societies, a team of six fellows composed a toolkit with Arts-based Methods for Transformative Engagement. Acknowledging the important role of values, mindsets and narratives, the tools in this resource are aimed at breaking free from habituated ways of thinking and evoking ‘transformative mindsets’. In this presentation, I will explain the thinking behind the toolkit, as well as give participants a first-hand experience of using the tools.
— Moderated by Iris van Hal (Wageningen University, NL & Kyoto University)
— Chaired by Shuji Hisano (Kyoto University)
- Citizen radiation measuring stations after the Fukushima nuclear accident: knowledge, participation and environmental justice by Aya Hirata Kimura (University of Hawai’I Manoa, USA)
- Don’t mind your plate! The ontonorms of everyday eating in post-2011 Japan by Karly Ann Burch (University of Otago, NZ)/web
The onset of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011 created disorder in many realms of Japanese society, including the everyday eating routines of people living both near and far from the nuclear disaster itself. Official responses involved a push to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible—a task which involved officially establishing certain levels of anthropogenic radionuclides as ‘safe’ for consumption. This involved normalizing the possible presence of TEPCO’s radionuclides in people’s everyday foods, enacting those people who do not mind what is on their plates as “good” and those questioning their plate’s contents as “anxious” or “against recovery efforts” in those areas suffering from high levels of radioactive fallout. Beginning with experiences of konran (disorder) related to everyday eating shared by people concerned about consuming TEPCO’s radionuclides and drawing on grey literature, I borrowed “ontonorms” (Mol, 2013) as a methodological tool for exploring the different valuations active in enacting government certified ‘safe foods’ and the bodies of those people intended to ingest them. Analysis revealed the power of ruling discourses—and the ontonorms embedded within them—in enacting perspectivalism and discouraging deliberation and debate regarding TEPCO’s radionuclides and food safety in the aftermath of TEPCO’s nuclear disaster.
- Identifying and examining the communication of knowledge of environmental protection in small-scale fisheries: A case study on the Sanriku Coast by Alayna Ynacay-Nye (Kyoto University)
While the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster (3.11) caused unspeakable economic devastation to the fishing industry on the Sanriku coast, it also shed light on, and in some cases enhanced, persistent socio-ecological issues. Several studies have made the connection between socio-ecological issues and the lack of – or underdevelopment of – the communication of knowledge due to power imbalances within social, ecological and economic governance systems (Leeuwis, 1990; Wagemans, 1998; Feola, 2004). My research aims to investigate that the ability for small-scale fishermen to make decisions is influenced by these power dynamics. For Sanriku Coast fisheries, the national and prefecture governments, in cooperation with large-scale fishing corporations, have developed “revitalization” strategies for Sanriku fishing communities which mainly focus on economic redevelopment of the fishing industry, ignoring and/or manipulating the communication of knowledge for sustainable socio-ecological fisheries governance. Shedding light on the current on-the-ground knowledge communication process regarding environmental protection on the Sanriku coast will be the foundation of an analysis to understand some of the basis of power imbalances between local and regulatory actors.
— Chaired by Ai Hisano (Kyoto University)
- Regional Sustainability and Lessons from the Experiences of Pollution and Over-tourism: A Tale of Two Cities, Yokkaichi and Kyoto by Tomohiro Okada (Kyoto Tachibana University)
- At the intersection between imagined ruralities and lived realities: the role of agri-touristic entrepreneurs in rural development in the case of Kyoto prefecture (Japan) by Michael Juerges (Kyoto University)
- The impact of rural art on alternative farmers: the case of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale by Kei Yan Leung (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)/web
Arts-led initiatives are now commonplace in rural communities. Research on the significance of the arts in rural development has documented the social and economic gains associated with such initiatives, and shown that they provide social infrastructure and cultural resources which can empower rural communities. These benefits suggest the transformative potential of the arts, and how they can strengthen the capacities of rural communities to cope with socio-economic and environmental changes at both individual and community level.
However, existing discussions mainly take an instrumental perspective, focusing on economic benefits, seen in quantitative terms, e.g. the increase of non-farm employment, business productivity, and income from tourism. Much less attention has been given to the intrinsic benefits of the arts, and how the arts can impact practice. Gibson & Gordon (2018, p.261) suggested that arts can be considered as a form of ‘rural cultural resourcefulness’, informed by local cultural norms and practices, which bring changes to rural actors in everyday life.
My research focused on the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (ETAT) in Japan, the world’s largest outdoor art festival. The ETAT is the first art project in Japan that aimed at making a contribution to rural revitalization. At the Triennale in 2018, 186 pieces of artworks were dotted around an area spreading 760 km2 focusing on six villages. Going against the idea of efficiency, exhibitions were decentralized to create an ‘inefficient’ experience, by forcing visitors to slow down and be mindful of the abandoned village schools, old houses, and forgotten landscapes surrounding them.
The ETAT takes place in Tokamachi, a remote mountainous countryside that is famous for its rice production and terraced rice fields. By putting art installations on active and on abandoned rice fields, art and agriculture converge. Art is used as a means to reconnect past and present farming practices, culture, and landscapes. The art works are on the one hand informed by local cultural norms, meanings and practices, and on the other hand they are a tool to re-signify existing but neglected local cultural resources and unseen natural resources. To explore the impact of art on everyday farming life, I conducted interviews with 25 alternative farmers in Matsudai, in Winter 2019.
Based on these interviews, I argue that the ETAT strengthens alternative farming practices by using art to create and recreate human-nature connections, to re-signify the importance of farming in preserving the Satoyama landscape, and to offer spaces for alternative farmers to showcase the meanings of local practices and of the local way of life to visitors. To some of the interviewed farmers, the fact that artworks were installed on their rice field did bring practical challenges, as the artwork made weeding and the use of machinery difficult. Also, tourists sometimes disturbed their farm work. However, although this was irritating at times, it also inspired the farmers to rethink the meanings of art, to think about the link between the artwork and their everyday farming life, and thus spurred their imagination on how they could convey the meaning of their alternative farming practices to others in the community. These are examples of how art can influence everyday experiences and practices of rural actors, enabling them to cope with vulnerability and strengthen their resilience.
— Chaired by Yalei Zhai (Kyoto University)
- The Linen Project: An Economy of Caretakers by Pascale Gatzen (ArtEZ University of the Arts, NL)/web
The Linen Project investigates and works towards reactivating the economic viability of flax cultivation and small-scale linen production in the Netherlands, with a view toward broader international relevance. In doing so, the project seeks to call into being new economic ecosystems and demonstrate the vital importance of stimulating healthy biodiversity. Our relationship with agriculture exists at the core of the project. We actively seek to research and activate the inherent connections and possibilities between the production of food and fibre, taking inspiration from alternative food practices such as Community Supported Agriculture, community land use and stewardship, and Slow Food.
From this position we explore the following:
• How can we improve the quality of life by restoring a natural balance with the earth on which we live?
• How can we develop new economic models that support wellbeing, equity and connection with and for all beings?
Through practical and iterative investigation, the Linen Project explores how we can achieve these objectives. We seek to perform and reclaim the economy as a social and cultural domain. The practice of commoning is a guiding framework for our research.
During this session in conversation we would like to explore how to operationalize the framework of commoning to jointly imagine and practice an economy that is rooted in a deep awareness of our interdependency with each other and with the earth and the joyful and nurturing potential of fully embracing that reality.
— Chaired by Oona Morrow (Wageningen University, NL)
- Unsustainability of fashion in historical perspective by Ben Wubs (Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL)/web
In July 2018, The Times wrote about how the luxury brand Burberry had burnt more than £90 million of products in the previous five years to protect its brand value. The news, which was actually based on the company’s annual reports, went global at the speed of light. At the same time, H&M announced that it had burnt more than 16.5 tons of stock last year, but that the energy this produced was used by a small Swedish city, Vasteras, saving lots of coal. All of this news about different segments of the fashion industry fuelled a public outcry over the environmentally unfriendly nature of the sector. The fashion industry, however, has a long history of overproduction and pollution, and these two stories are just the tip of the iceberg. These issues are also a result of a fashion cycle that moves faster and faster, and produces more and more apparel at a higher speed. The business is volatile and rapidly changing consumer tastes are difficult to predict. As the West has outsourced most of its apparel production to Asia, it has also outsourced environmental issues and bad labour conditions to the East. Indeed, it was only after the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 people, that consumers in the West began to realise that absurdly low prices in fast fashion stores come with a high societal cost (negative externalities, as an economist would say) on the other side of the planet. Unfortunately, not much has changed for garment workers since then.
One of the main issues regarding sustainability and fashion is the use of fibres. For a long time in human history, fabrics were made from ‘natural fibres’, including cotton, wool, silk and flax. In the 20th century, a synthetic revolution took place. A new industry arose in Europe and North America in the 1920s: the artificial silk (rayon) industry. Companies like the Dutch AKU, the German Glanzstoff and the Italian SNIA created a new fibre that was based on wood pulp. Rayon could therefore still be called a natural fibre, even though its production process was highly polluting. However, nobody cared at the time. At the end of the 1930s, the American company DuPont produced Nylon, the first man-made fibre based on petro chemicals. Then, after World War II, many new synthetic fibres were developed. Polyether is the most famous example and is still the most dominant synthetic fibre globally.
Around 2000, polyester claimed the top position of ‘King Cotton’, which had been the most commonly used fibre in the textile industry for 200 years. The problem with synthetic fibres is that most of them are not sustainable. Indeed, a large part of the so-called plastic soup consists of artificial fibres, but the solution is not to replace them with ‘natural’ versions. Cotton production, for example, is not as natural as it sounds: it uses arable land that could be used for food production and tremendous amounts of water, and ever more herbicides and pesticides are needed for the cotton monocultures. To make matters worse, growing numbers of fabrics are based on a mix of synthetic and natural fibres, making recycling even more complicated. In conclusion, humanity has created a huge problem, which is not easy to solve. The market, though, will not provide a solution; on the contrary, the market is the problem! Indeed, it is only government intervention on a global level that could possibly provide us with an answer.
- Network evolution in Japanese fashion industry by Rika Fujioka (Kansai University, Japan)
— Chaired by Steven Ivings (Kyoto University)
- Hydropower Development, Power Relation and Environmental Justice: Case Studies of Riparian Communities along the Mekong River. by Chayan Vaddhanaphuti / Malee Sitthikriengkrai (Chiang Mai University, Thailand)
- Urban redevelopment, environmental vulnerability and equity: The case of Bangkok by Tamaki Endo (Saitama University, Japan)/web
Bangkok has been serving as one of the global centers of production and services in Asia. Since 2015, the government abandoned regional inequality correction policies and started to prioritize the Bangkok Mega-region. New megaprojects are announced continuously in Bangkok, aiming to strengthen its function as a ‘global city.’ Recently, private-led urban redevelopment projects are being accelerated. High-rise office buildings, luxury condominiums, high-end department stores and mega shopping malls have been rapidly increasing, attracting not only locals but also global investors and foreign tourists. On the other hand, many urban communities where local residents live, especially those in the lower income groups, as well as vendors and fresh food markets, are facing relocation. In other words, the space for exercising ‘informality’ is being increasingly squeezed out from the urban space. These compressed changes in urban economics and society have created a complex, multi-layered stratification in the city.
My presentation will focus on how urban spaces are reorganized and whether these new redevelopment projects are ‘sustainable’ in the urban socioeconomic and environmental context. The recent redevelopment has created new environmental vulnerabilities in many ways, in terms of energy consumption, risk management, and so on. For example, Bangkok is initially located in a high-risk area for sea level rise due to climate change. However, developers prioritize profits rather than contribute to the construction of a regional system that reduces flood risks. Not only the infrastructure construction process, but also after the shock phase, urban governance tends to prioritize the business sector’s interests rather than the needs of local residents. The urban risk management policy of the severe flood in 2011 is one good example. The metropolitan government attempted to protect the financial hub of the region, the inner city of Bangkok, from the flood. Their actual water control practices eventually aggravated the damage to urban suburbs and surrounding rural areas. The objections brought forward from residents in the latter areas clearly show the tension and conflicts among different social classes.
Furthermore, I will clarify that increasing risks are not equally shared by urban residents but distributed unevenly. The lower income class and vulnerable groups face higher risks. For example, as gentrification proceeds, competition over scarce land has intensified and lower-class citizens are pushed into areas that are highly vulnerable to environmental and natural disaster risks. Megaprojects force the relocation of lower-class urban communities to the suburbs, including flood buffer zones, which are expected to become water channels during floods. Workplaces of informal economy workers are also facing eviction. In the name of the ‘city beautification policy,’ the metropolitan government is actively regulating and evicting vendors and other self-employed workers on the streets, increasing the burdens for their survival.
The risk production mechanism is embedded in the urban setting in global cities itself. Private-led urban development often seeks its own benefits and results in increased environmental vulnerability of the region. The competition among developers and disorganized development creates cities that require high energy consumption, which is not environmentally sustainable. The costs and benefits are unevenly distributed around the city, often appearing as burdens for the lower class. Megacities and regions in emerging countries are strategic key spaces for the future ‘sustainability’ of society. The Bangkok case will show the challenges and policy dilemmas faced by these megacities and regions, and the crucial issues to be tackled.
- Addressing Justice in Food System: Food Workers in Thailand by Sayamol Charoenratana (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)
Is the Food System just and fair? While research on food systems emphasizes the relationship between people and/or institutions, the invisibility of food workers and gender roles are the main reasons for the lack of addressing economic and social issues within food systems. While food producers, -processors and -retailers are core components of the food system, consumers are mainly interested in food security and high food quality, having less concern about food workers’ quality of life and women’s unequal participation in decent work. In Thailand, where ‘farmers’ are mostly seen as food producers, workers in fisheries and livestock are unnoticed. Nevertheless, food producers in the agricultural sector are not seen as workers and are excluded from most labor protection policies, including wages, occupational safety and health & social protection schemes. At the same time, food processors are viewed as corporates rather than workers in the food industry, whose freedom on organization and right to collective bargaining are incessantly threatened. Moreover, workers’ rights in food retailing are overlooked as well, while the oligarchical food retailing industry multiplies itself every year. Despite the fact that Thailand has been promoting the tourist industry for years, restaurant workers and street food vendors are not perceived as part of the growing urban economy. As the majority of the food workers’ population is female, this indicates that, as opposed to male workers, women cannot participate in the formal economy with the job market offering more secure jobs and a better income. In my research, I integrate labor dimensions and a gender lens within the food system. Using evidences on food workers’ situations in Thailand, addressing issues related to wage, health, social protection and gender inequality as well as returning the human face and losing voice of food workers should, hopefully, widen the scope of food system studies towards a more ‘just’ food system.
— Chaired by Joost Jongerden (Wageningen University, NL)
- Seasonal Vegetable Basket as an Alternative Food Practice- Teikei Movement Re-visited by Nami Yamamoto (Kyoto University)
Since its emergence in the 1970s in the context of environmental crisis caused by industrialised agriculture, Teikei has been developed with food and agriculture initiatives in search of more sustainable and just food system. Focusing on building the trust-based relationship between producers and consumers, Teikei has been playing an important role in the development of organic farming. One of its key component is the seasonal vegetable basket filled with what the season offers.
This is a practice of sustainable consumption where consumers are required to adapt to the vegetable that they do not choose to make their everyday meal. This aspect of “let the season decide what you eat” is a direct translation of one of the Teikei principles called “purchase all the produce”, and used to be one of the key attributes of Teikei food practice as a movement promoting organic agriculture by fostering producer-consumer partnerships. However, given the challenging situation that many of the Teikei groups face by losing its members, this feature is considered as one of the negative factors causing the decline of Teikei besides of the other factors such as the change in social structure.
With Theory of Practice as framework, I will examine the food practice of a long-standing Teikei group in Kyoto to illustrate how the Teikei food practice are formed and sustained over the time. The Teikei movement will be revisited by highlighting its food practice and it will be argued that its de-customized aspect of food consumption played an important role to connect the consisting elements resulting in the practice to be sustained.
- Can Japan’s Teikei Movement evolve without the stay-at-home housewife: A gender analysis on solidarity economic practices? by Chika Kondo (Kyoto University)
Japan’s teikei movement focuses on building farmer-consumer relationships rooted in values of reciprocity and solidarity. This grassroots movement precedes the popular Community Supported Agriculture model and started in the late 1960s and early 1970s and posed as an alternative to the conventional food system as a means to create a more equitable and sustainable society. However, the efforts to create more interdependence between consumers and producers often ignores or undervalues the labor involved in operating and sustaining such an alternative system. A paradox can emerge where an alternative system frees participating actors from the globalized food system but entrenches those involved in poor paid work. Gender is often a neglected area of interest in the study of alternative food systems and solidarity economies.
Much of the movement’s activity predicated on the volunteer efforts of housewives looking to source organic fruits and vegetables to prepare meals for their families. In Japan, women are still largely responsible for feeding the household. However as almost 70% of women ages 15-64 are currently working, several teikei groups have either closed or shifted to provide more convenience to the consumer. This presentation aims to interrogate the ways in which solidarity economic practices like teikei can both uplift the status of women and reinforce their marginalities.
Using a case study of a small teikei group in Osaka, I am to analyze the transitions the group has made in relation to shifting culture and societal practices through a gender perspective. This particular teikei group is led by only women and a small group of male producers. They were on brink of collapse in 2018 but decided to continue its operations with the support of mothers from a nearby alternative preschool joining as members and working as part-time staff. Because the membership base is not as large as it used to be during its peak, they face a variety of struggles on the consumer level, administrative level, and producer level. As they continue to work towards transitioning its leadership and operations to younger women, they will need to confront how to adequately value the true labor costs involved to maintain their solidarity economy. With Japan’s changing family structures and economic need for dual household incomes, can this style of alternative food system continue?
- Contested strategies among emerging strategic groups in shaping urban space and resilience in Cambodia secondary towns by Try Thuon (Chiang Mai University, Thailand)
During this presentation, I will discuss my research on urban resilience through a lens of strategic group formation under pressure from rapid urbanization, regional economic connectivity, and intensifying climate change impacts. Battambang as the symbol of modernization and city beautification among other secondary towns in Cambodia, is often viewed by the dominant strategic groups as a livable city, a market town and regional trading center, with significant tourism potential related to its urban cultural heritage. This heritage includes ancient temples, modern colonial architecture, traditional wooden houses, and unique legacies from the Khmer Rouge. In achieving this ideal dream, land use zoning and classification have been conducted and approved, in which the concept of equitable land allocation to the urban poor in informal settlements and the idea of low-cost housing development schemes, as well as the development of a cultural village, have become key pioneers for other secondary cities in the country. This is coupled with a process to formalize informal urban land through spatial fixes applied at both the municipal and provincial level. Policy frameworks such as a tourism promotion strategy, National Circular 03 on Informal Settlements and Slum Upgrading and the Draft Law on Affordable Housing are being experimented with in Battambang municipality as the model for secondary city development across the country.
My research shows that urban space within the two selected studies involves an interaction between a formal spatial plan, which affects the social relations between different groups of people, dominant and subordinate and the native and the newcomer’s relation in terms of land based speculation and investment. I conclude with stating that urban resilience cannot be achieved without addressing the embedded social structures of dominant groups, which is consistently reinforced on the ground by political structures. Mainstream urban climate resilience often focuses on urban hardware and infrastructure systems, the development of institutions, and agents controlled by the dominant group. It ignores the participation of marginalized groups and the emerging cultural capital of reviving urban heritage through the development of cultural villages. This reflects the reconstruction of space, identity and social belonging, which is what is regularly omitted in mainstream approaches.
- Uncovering the on-the-ground consequences of voluntary sustainability standards: Enabled and disabled power in the RSPO legitimization process in Indonesia by Zulfa Adiputri (Kyoto University)/web
Legitimacy is seen as an essential for voluntary sustainability standards to be able to get their audiences accept their rights to rule. However, little is known on how the processes to obtain legitimacy, called legitimization, may produce residual yet significant unintended consequences besides their intended output. While previous studies have documented consequences produced by such standards (e.g. Oosterveer, 2014; Gulbrandsen, 2010; Keskitalo et al, 2009; Guthman, 2004), none of them discusses how legitimization as (1) carefully planned strategy, and (2) the dynamic of power relations between actors involved, have contribute in creating such consequences. This presentation aims to address this research gap by examining the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) legitimization process in Indonesia, especially in relation with the RSPO’s latest strategy that focus on smallholders engagement. The strategy is directly related with the notion of empowerment. In legitimacy framework, smallholders engagement serves two purposes. First, it contributes to the RSPO moral legitimacy as it provides the marginalized actors access to market and the betterment of livelihood in terms of increased income. Second, it enhances the pragmatic legitimacy as it allows the RSPO to potentially reach out broader impacts, in which smallholders managed up to 40 percent of total palm oil plantation area in Indonesia.
To answer the stated problem, I studied two smallholder groups in Riau Province. They are Asosiasi Amanah, an association comprised of smallholder cooperatives situated in three vilages of Trimulya Jaya, Air Emas, and Bukit Jaya, in Pelalawan District, Riau. The other one is KUD Bungo Tanjung, a cooperative that was established along with the local government poverty alleviation programme to give 3 hectares of oil palm plantation to each of low-income household. This cooperative is located in Dosan Village, Siak District, in the same province. While the certification project resulted in Asosiasi Amanah being RSPO certified, KUD Bungo Tanjung ended up abandoning the project. These two contrasting certification project result are chosen not to compare the successfulness between the two, but to identify the potential of differential and various types of power involved in the two cases. This presentation employs the concept of power in sustainability transition and (dis)empowerment process that may follow coined by Avelino (2017). The analysis consists of three stages. First, I mapped relevant actors involved in the legitimization process. Then, I identified the types of horizontal power as well as vertical relational power of and between actors. Finally, I analyzed how those power are executed, are made (ir)relevant, are enforced or nulled, within the legitimization process. The early findings are that the legitimization of the RSPO enables and enforces types of power that are in accordance with neo-liberal logics, while other types are being weaken or disabled. Consequently, the marginalized are being marginalized further, unless they change to fit the system or able to grab resources to do so –an impact that this paper calls pseudo empowerment in voluntary sustainability standards.
— Chaired by Tsilavo Ralandison (Kyoto University)
- Sustaining Konfektion: Exploring the Business Strategies of a Historical ‘Fast’ Fashion Centre by Alice G. Janssens (Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL)/web
- The development of apparel firms in Kenya since the 1990s: Entering global value chains through Asian contractors by Nahashon Nzioka Nthenya (Osaka University, Japan)
I will tell more about my research that analyzes the revitalization and industrial upgrading of the apparel industry in Kenya through an approach that integrates the frameworks of global value commodity theory, industrial studies, and business history. It demonstrates that the fast growth of the industry since 2000 has relied on inward FDI by Asian textile companies that use Kenya as a production center to export apparel to the US market. Their competitive advantage lies in their linkage to global markets and supply chains through captive networks. However, companies with domestic capital remain largely small and have shown a limited ability to upgrade their capabilities and improve their positions in the value chain. The development of the Kenyan apparel industry thus essentially depends on foreign markets and foreign firms.
- The role of working women and men in society examined from Japanese TV commercials during the 80’s and 90’s by Urszula Frey (Kyoto University)
- Demographics of climate mobilisation: an analysis of the anti-fracking campaign in Scotland since 2011 by Riyoko Shibe (University of Glasgow; GLOCAL)
— Chaired by Steven Ivings (Kyoto University)
*Contents and presenters are subject to change.
[Contact] International Affairs Office Email: iao.econ [at] mail2.adm.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Dr. Ai HISANO Email: aihisano [at] econ.kyoto-u.ac.jp (replace [at] with @)