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RDI – UNIKOM Joint Studium Generale On The Importance Of Local Perspective




On Tuesday 5th December 2017, Urban and Regional Planning Department of UNIKOM, Bandung, invited researchers of RDI to present the outlines of RDI’s vision, current research, and the programme of interns. The event was held in UNIKOM new building, Dipatiukur, Bandung. The aim of this reunion was to create a partnership between UNIKOM and RDI, and to offer internship places to UNIKOM students regarding various research topics in 2018.


Picture 2. Group Photo

As well as this introduction to RDI, a research intern at RDI, Tom Lovett, was invited to talk about his own research and his perspectives on both anthropology and the importance of taking into consideration local perspectives and understandings before the implementations of schemes or strategies.

Tom Lovett is a Cum Laude graduate from the Master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University. His thesis research was conducted in Nayarit, Mexico, where he studied the understandings that rural people, and cattle-ranchers, had of their forest, within the context of jaguar conservation. Tom Lovett presented some ideas that he uncovered in his research to the students at UNIKOM. Most importantly he stressed the need to be aware that the local ‘reality’ might be very different to that of NGOs or governments. Local communities may understand situations in a vastly different way, thus influencing resistance to government schemes or regulations.


Picture 3. Giving of Souvenirs

Tom Lovett related his findings to the urban environment by utilising the RDI study of the Feasibility of the Biodigester programme in Bandung. He explained that if there had been a proper qualitative study done before the implementation of the programme, then perhaps there would have been more success. He was supported in his explanation by Wafa and Adryan, and together they facilitated discussion among the 80 students present about the type of information that would be useful to know before implementation of such schemes, such as how much waste is produced, or why and how people currently manage waste


Picture 4. Thomas Guy Lovett