New RSO student authored article on Ayurveda and commodification in Europe

Former RSO thesis student Marine Viale has had an article based on her thesis published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. The article’s title is Conserving traditional wisdom in a commodified landscape: Unpacking brand Ayurveda, and is co-authored with Mark Vicol from RSO. Fantastic to see a very good thesis leading to a peer-reviewed publication. You can read the full article here https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0975-9476(22)00126-7 and the abstract is pasted below.

Abstract

As Ayurveda continues to gain global recognition as a sanctioned system of health care, the essence of Ayurveda’s identity has become prey to commoditization and commodification for commercial undertakings in the holistic health milieu of India, but also in emerging markets such as Europe. This paper critically assesses the commodification of Ayurveda as a cultural signifier within Europe that separates the indigenous artefact from its Vedic origins. Often presented as an elite commodity in Western settings, Ayurveda has become embedded as a cultural artifact within consumer society as the epitome of holistic care with an emphasis on its spiritual attributes, yet simultaneously isolating it from the customary elements that motivated its inception. The paper argues that Ayurveda’s discursive detachment from its ontological tenets facilitates its rearticulation as a malleable experience as it crosses national boundaries, and in this process fosters the misinterpretation of the ancient healing tradition. This process may provide Ayurvedic treatments and principles with increased visibility in Europe’s health sector. However, brands are exploiting this niche with push-marketing strategies to capitalize on the budding Ayurveda industry, turning traditional medicines into emblematic commodities. To advance this argument, we examine product diversions in the commodification of classical Ayurvedic medicines in the Netherlands and Germany, focusing on the over-the-counter (OTC) segment. We present an interpretive analysis of the processes that are (de)constructing traditional practices and principles as Ayurveda travels beyond India, and how this complicates issues of authenticity and expertise as herbal medicines diverge from the indications ratified in Ayurveda’s classical compendiums.

REMINDER: Assistant Professor Rural Sociology vacancy (Tenure Track) – application deadline 12 September 2022

A month ago we posted a job opening for an Assistant Professor in Rural Sociology (Tenure Track position). If you are interested to apply or know of potential candidates, please be aware that the deadline for submitting applications is approaching. Applications can be submitted up to and including September 12th 2022 via the apply button on the vacancy page.

Job opening: Assistant Professor Rural Sociology (tenure track position)

The Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University invites applicants for a tenure Track position (assistant professor, 0.8 – 1.0 fte) in rural sociology, with a focus on critical agrarian and rural studies and international development studies.

In this challenging career trajectory:

  • You will undertake independent research and participate in (international) research projects, focusing on topics such as inclusive agrarian and rural development,  agri-food system dynamics, international comparison of agrarian change, and the politics of agrarian and rural development.
  • You will teach and coordinate one or more courses for the Bachelor and Master programs International Development Studies (BIN/MID) and the Master programs Organic Agriculture (MOA) and Rural Development and Innovation (MDR). On our website you find all courses, and they are clearly connected with our research
  • You will also  supervise Bachelor and Master thesis students for these programs.

Other aspects of the job include project acquisition, training and supervision of PhD students and participation in research or education committees. Approximately 40-45% of your time will be spent on research, 40- 45% on education and 10-20% on management and academic service activities.

We ask

We are looking for candidates with

  • A PhD degree in agrarian or rural sociology, human geography, anthropology, or related social science discipline;
  • An inspiring vision on rural sociology and the future challenges and priorities of agriculture and rural development from a critical perspective;
  • Evidence of high quality research in rural studies, preferably proven by the ability to publish in leading scientific journals and/or with top academic publishers;
  • A relevant international academic network, combined with good connections with grassroots networks and policymakers (at different levels);
  • Ample empirical research experience in different geographical settings (preferably Europe as well as the global South), allowing for a comparative perspective;
  • Ability to develop high-quality research proposals and to be(come) successful in the acquisition of externally funded research grants;
  • Ability to work in interdisciplinary and international teams;
  • Good didactic qualities and the capacity to motivate and inspire students;
  • Teaching competences that comply with the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Program (LTHEP, in Dutch referred to as BKO, a system adopted by all Dutch universities) or willingness to follow the LTHEP;
  • Strong communicative and interpersonal skills and a flexible and collaborative attitude.
  • Fluency in English and, if appropriate, commitment to learn Dutch within 2 years of appointment.

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will be offered a fixed-term, 7 year contract which, upon positive evaluation based on criteria elaborated in the University’s Tenure Track policy, can lead to a permanent employment contract as professor. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €3.974,- and €6.181,-  for a full-time working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 11 or 12).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information
Additional enquiries should be addressed to the chair of the Rural Sociology group, Prof. dr. Han Wiskerke (E-mail address: han.wiskerke@wur.nl). A more detailed profile of the Rural Sociology Group can be found in its 75th Anniversary book ‘On meaningful diversity: past, present and future of Wageningen rural sociology’.
 
Tenure Track is a career path for hardworking scientists who pursue to excel in education and research. We seek to attract scientific talent and to stimulate and support their development.

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on the WUR website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

To apply, please upload the following:

  • Letter of motivation
  • A current Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications
  • Names and contact details of two referees
  • One selected publication
  • A teaching dossier or statement of teaching interests and experience (including teaching outlines and evaluations if available)

Please note that only applications sent through the online application button can be taken into consideration.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including September 12th 2022. The first job interviews will be scheduled on 28-30 September 2022. A second interview including a (public) lecture will be held on 13 or 14 October 2022. Candidates invited for a second interview will also be asked to submit  a written statement on their research vision of the advertised position.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

Wageningen University and Research
The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialized research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7.200 employees and 13.200 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

The Rural Sociology Group (RSO)
Central to the research program of the Rural Sociology is a relational approach to transformation processes, explored from the perspective of the everyday life of people, and with a focus on agrarian and rural change, food provisioning, and place-based development. These processes are studied from an range of critical perspectives (e.g. interpretative and micro-sociological perspective, cultural political economy, or governmentality studies). We actively engage in interdisciplinary (including collaborations with natural scientists), multi-method and multi-stakeholder approaches. A common denominator in our research is the focus on actors, agency, institutionalization of practices, differential development paths, and political organization.
Our mission is to contribute to the development of sustainable and socially acceptable modes of farming, food provisioning, and rural development, which foster social and spatial justice. Through our research we attempt to un-familiarize the familiar and undertake critical analyses, but, importantly, also be transformative by engaging in the exploration of new practices and by showing a diversity of credible options beyond dominant understandings and constellations. A key characteristic of our research program is its threefold relevance: it should contribute to the scientific development of our field and scientific discipline(s), inform policymaking and provide support for practitioners.

The Rural Sociology Group is embedded in the sub-department Space, Place & Society (SPS)  together with two other chair groups: Health & Society (HSO) and Sociology of Development and Change (SDC). Within SPS the groups share administrative support and collaborate in education. Together with the Cultural Geography group the sub-department Space, Place and Society has founded the Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS), which aims to advance critical-constructive scholarship within the social sciences with a particular focus on issues of socio-spatial inequalities and social and environmental justice. Within the CSPS the chair groups participate in research and PhD supervision and training.

More information about Wageningen University, the Rural Sociology Group, the sub-department SPS and CSPS can be obtained through one of the following links.

In memoriam Dr Paul Hebinck

It is with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that our beloved, recently retired colleague Dr Paul Hebinck has suddenly passed away, while on holidays in France. Paul was a colorful, committed and extremely collegial development sociologist who worked at Wageningen University from 1989 until his retirement in 2019. Specialized in rural development, land and agrarian reform, resource management and agricultural livelihoods, Paul was happiest doing long-term research in what he referred to as his ‘dorpies’ (local villages) in Kenya, Namibia and South Africa. His commitment to the people that he worked with, studied and supported was unwavering, akin to his commitment to his many students, colleagues and academic friends all over the world. Transformation, Paul consistently taught us, needs to be studied and supported ‘from below’, and must be inspired by and rooted in the people that work the land. This is a lesson we hold dear at the Sociology of Development and Change and Rural Sociology groups, and that we will continue to spread and teach. Paul did not want to retire and was indeed still very active with publications and projects. Those who knew Paul understand that the world truly is a lot quieter without him. We will miss Paul dearly and think of his wife, children, family and friends.

On behalf of the Sociology of Development and Change Group and the Rural Sociology Group, prof. Bram Büscher, prof. Han Wiskerke