Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Value and vulnerability in vernacular discourses of livelihoods in crisis
Timo Kaartinen

Last modified: 2022-05-31


This paper discusses the need to rethink the notion of economy in the ethnographic analysis of everyday practices to earn a living, build a future, and negotiate the boundaries between different regimes of value. Drawing from fieldwork among groups affected by estate agriculture and nature conservation in West Kalimantan, I ask how such tropes as “nature”, “price”, “debt”, and “gathering” contribute to local, bottom-up understandings of what economy means. Such words translate people’s bottom-up understanding of the systemic conditions that contribute to the stability of social life and their capacity for producing value. I argue that an ethnographic analysis of this kind of discourse is crucial for what constitutes “crisis” as a lived experience. I suggest that crisis involves multiple elements of social life and reflect on two anthropological discussions about crisis: one in which the crisis facing humanity is fundamentally about social and economic interdependence, and another that stresses the interdependence of different kinds of living beings.

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