Stewarding agroecological futures and rural-urban imaginaries: Analysing collective study as a form of sociotechnical social learning

Authors: Huiying Ng*, National University Of Singapore
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Field Methods, Environmental Perception
Keywords: social learning, collective study, attention, semiotics, stewardship
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Environmental stewardship today does not necessarily confine itself to the geographical imagination of the city, but reaches beyond to peri-urban sites of production, manufacturing and disposal. Thinking through food and agriculture, the replication, or professionalization of stewardship requires ways of knowing that do not simply utilize “banking education”, but a radically different form of study that engages the imaginary. This paper builds on action research in two nascent sustainable farms in Chiangmai (one an organic farm with relocated stateless minority Dara’ang families, and the other working with lowland Thai Lanna farmers with middle class aspirations) to understand how environmental knowledge is learnt and used in re-orienting to new living conditions and livelihoods, and in producing the urban. This research culminates with the development of pedagogical tools with a food study group in Yogyakarta to put its artistic practice into conversation with research questions about learning outcomes, collective study, attention, and methods. I analyse the ethnographic moments, ethnobotanical mental mapping, participatory mapping and action research approaches used to consider: how attention is woven into the learning and knowing of new signs--new semiotic reference points; the way stewards (whether voluntary urban travellers to these farms, or the relocated ethnic minority) learn through re-orientation in new spaces, and the way these spontaneous experiences can be scaffolded through pedagogical tools. I contextualise these from the view of an urban setting—Singapore—to consider how stewardship is learnt, through the individual and collective learning trajectories of individuals in and with civic groups in Singapore.

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