“Navigating Global Flows of Capital, Policy and Values: Conceptualizing Trajectories toward Alternative Modernities in Indonesia” An International Conference & Workshop Programme Palu, Central Sulawesi Indonesia, 19-22 December 2016

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  1. Rationale

The economic, political, and social transformation of Indonesia since decolonization, especially in recent decades, has been massive. Linked to these processes numerous parameters crucial to guaranteeing a humane and dignified future require in-depth examination: self consciousness and otherness, citizenship and community, the effects of the neoliberal capitalist turn in development and conservation, among others. Such issues are linked to the expansion of governmentality across various agencies tied to the expansion of the global market and concomitant agendas. Reacting to such trends has been the political resurrection of various symbolic vehicles of socio-cultural identity in endeavors that seek to make claims on various resources through revitalization of traditions in the context of new political engagements and more pragmatic projects. Such phenomena are expressions of the various global forces interacting with local aspirations and actions leading to diverse trajectories toward various forms of modernity. Analyses of just how such interactions have arisen and are playing out in a context. It requires not just commentary on the overt politics of such transformative confrontations, but also deeper examination of the epistemological bases of action of the contending participants.

Many social and humanist scientists who have confronted these issues in their field research often have found themselves confronted with various dilemmas in their analytical work: How is the analysis of the communal and cultural repertoires of Indonesia a distinctive endeavor? How do the humanizing phenomena analyze in this nation represent unique constellations and how are they variants of other examples of the effect of such social forces and transnational networks? What is it that makes the study of Indonesia, among other forms of sociocultural analysis, possible in the contemporary situation? Alternatively, other potential questions include: How can the social scientist work in Indonesia and elsewhere begin to explore critically the “saturations and meaning impasse” occasioned by the ontological and ethical turns in development discourse and practice? And, in a more practice sense with interventionist implications: how can the environmentalist, historians, the political scientists as well as the anthropologist and the economist begins understanding values in inclusive ways that enable development and its agencies to fulfill its transformative potential? These challenges are deeply embedded in political conditions that inflect how those parties produce their vantage points in the quest to produce mutually all-embracing understandings.

The aim of the conference is to throwing down a gauntlet to the social researches in order to foster original ideas, new narratives and alternative ways of thinking about the central concepts in the sociocultural analysis of Indonesia and beyond. The enmeshing of intellectual and activist concerns can be seen to produce certain ‘sociocultural knots’, quandaries of analysis in dealing with the local manifestations of capital formations, power and resilience spheres, regarded in the larger context of changes in the regional, national and global discourses and policies guiding historical trajectories and the dynamics of contemporary realms. Those questions are aimed atthinking about an inclusive engagement within the world of which they are part of it as a whole—in terms of both activism of particular intellectual and political implications of different ways of social and cultural exegesis. Setting up the debate in this way is intended to ensure a mutually constitutive, entanglement amongst scholars of various orientations, as they reflect upon the historical dynamics which simultaneously which have created not only the situations they study, but also their own positions.

Underpinning the conference’s aim above, five themes that possibly could be explored are: 1)Tracing Value and Agency: Capital Formations in Indonesia’s Historical Trajectories; 2) Recycling Values: Ideological and Power Metaphors on Contemporary Capital Expansions in Indonesia; 3) Interlocking Imagined Values: Encounters and Asymmetries in the Age of Cultural Capitalism; 4) The Naked Face of the Clash of Values: Conflicts and Insecurity in the Age of Capital Hybrid; and 5) “Traditional” and “Modern” Medicine: Colonial and Postcolonial Legacies of Healthcare in Indonesia. Together these four themes present a context for dialogue between academic self-reflection and an outward looking applied practice in contemporary society that is endemic to contemporary sociocultural research. While some of the thematic topics focus on the changing conditions for knowledge and practice productions in general and the transformation of the fields of social research, others topical discussions will exemplify how sociocultural frameworks can be applied in new ways, approaching new kinds of materials from different perspectives. The themes all point toward the crucial interaction between the conditions for knowledge production and the applications of that research, where changes in the economic and political context within which research is undertaken are important not only for the researchers themselves, but also for what cross-disciplinary researches can hope to achieve and what role it can play in society.

The conference will involve presentations from a number of prominent speakers who have worked in and on Indonesia, including many scholars from the social sciences and humanities more generally, all of whom have, in some way or the other, conducted research and/or formulated conceptual models that articulate the urge for new discourses on values and capital, and their wider implications in policy domains. Foci of discussion will include attention to the implications of the ‘ontological and ethical turn’ for research beyond localities, as well as other perspectives that seek to bring a more rigorous and historically grounded consideration of values into analysis. Papers will engage not only with the fundamental philosophical and ethical stances sociocultural and political economy perspectives, especially as these have engaged with key terms such as ‘capital’, ‘value’ and other, but also with unpacking the notion of local within human and non-human interface systems. The conference framework thus seeks to place analysis of the specificities of historical emergence in Indonesia within more encompassing views of the process of transformation of capital forms in the contexts of global markets, human-technology interfaces, law and governance, economic and environmental crises, and the developmental and conservation initiatives being formulated and implemented to confront them.

Methodologically, this event is also intended to reveal how the reflexive turn in sociocultural discourses and development research of capital and value interfaces can reshape and deepen our understandings. Consequently, this activity also gives special attention to the importance of the young scholar and activist generations in constructing and even disentangling our sociocultural knots. Young scholars and activists, wherever they have been engaged themselves, despite actually having tremendous potential in reshaping theoretical ideas and methodologies for formulating and answering relevant questions seem not to have received adequate attention in many social research agendas. Moreover, the event will valorize the spirit of young scholars in Indonesia and developing countries in their endeavors to configure alternative modes of scholarship, endeavors and communication strengthening. For this concern, the event will specifically design a collaborative workshop for the young scholars prior to and in parallel with the conference sessions.


Event Website: http://celebesinstitute.org

Anthropology Study Program

Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Tadulako University

Jl. Sukarno Hatta KM 09, Palu Central Sulawesi Indonesia

Phone/Fax: 62-451-429739

Email: paluconference@gmail.com


Contact Person:

Muhammad Nasrum

Event Coordinator

Cell: 62-811-4585372

Email: muhammadnasrum@gmail.com


Event Venue

The venue of this event will be held in the IT Center Building, Campus of Tadulako University, Palu, Central Sulawesi Indonesia.