Naam F Rahmadian MSc

OmschrijvingPhD researcher
OrganisatieDepartement Maatschappijwetenschappen
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Faris Rahmadian is a researcher and a PhD student at Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University & Research. His research interests are focused on the interactions between humans and political and global environmental change. He studies political ecology, social and environmental policy, public governance, and international development. His recent projects focus on strengthening sustainable instruments in the palm oil sector to tackle deforestation and illegal expansion, as well as protect the rights of smallholders, indigenous, and marginalized peoples.

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Title: “Seeing Anew Like a State: Indonesia’s Authoritative Governance of Palm Oil”

One of the most controversial issues in the field of sustainable food and agriculture is the production and trade of palm oil as a global commodity. A quite paradoxical thing happens: on the hand, the Government of Indonesia has taken numerous measures to improve the sustainability of palm oil, to stop deforestation and erosion of biodiversity, with documented positive results of scholars and international agencies. On the other hand, in many (particularly) European countries, palm oil gets increasingly negatively framed in policy documents. This research want to investigate how the Indonesian government tries to claim and exert authority in non-domestic political arenas in which sustainability of palm oil is being framed, yet the GoI cannot simply rely on its sovereign power. The focus is on three arenas: first, the political arena of the EU in which a new discussion on the revised RED has emerged after its launch in 2018; second, the joint working group on palm oil of the EU and selected ASEAN members; third, the Free Trade Agreement of Indonesia with four ‘small’ European states (EFTA).

The main research questions are: (1) What modes of governance has the GoI used to exert authority about and in non-domestic arenas to influence decision-making processes regarding sustainability of palm oil?; (2) In what ways has the GoI ‘stretched’ its sovereign power to influence decision-making processes regarding sustainability of palm oil?; (3) What lessons for sustainability diplomacy and use of media can be drawn from the ways in which the GoI combines different modes of governance to exert authority over and in non-domestic arenas? The study combines theoretical concepts from public administration (authoritative governance), communication studies (mediatized politics) and international relations (horizontal sovereignty games) to generate new insights on palm oil politics.

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