Tasteful waste

Earlier this month, we had a fun food culture class on the topic of waste and edibility. The writing of Mary Douglas on Purity and Danger was useful in order to think about how the definition of ‘waste’ is in fact a social construction which depends on social relations and thus varies from context to context. We looked at the various stages in the cycle from production to consumption where ‘waste’ is created by some, but sometimes turned into food by others. Waste, or ‘dirt’ in the words of Mary Douglas, is ‘matter out of place’. For a thing to become out of place, there needs to be an order with normalities such as, when a food is beyond its expiration date in a supermarket it will be thrown away. Anomaly then is all that does not fit the order (or who order differently). Examples are gleaning practices on agricultural fields, food collection for food banks and dumpster diving in retail waste.

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Sense of place in National Park Galicica – using new media in MSc-thesis research

By Bojan Rantasa, MSc-student International Master of Rural Development

Last Friday, 23 March 2012, I presented my MSc-thesis research proposal for fellow students and researchers of the Rural Sociology Group. My thesis research is titled “The Sense of Place of National Park Galicica” is part of my Msc-study International Master Rural Development (www.imrd.ugent.be). Joost Jongerden of the Rural Sociology Group is my sepervisor. My thesis presentation can be viewed at www.galicica.rantasa.net, a website on my thesis research where I will post research proceedings as well.

In my research I will use new media as tools for communication with the public but also as research method. I developed a website at the proposal stage of the research (www.galicica.rantasa.net). It enables dedicated communication with stakeholders and public, by offering updates on the research and a contact form. The web page also hosts the questionnaire on the sense of place of “Galicica”, thus becoming an important and integrated tool to the research. The information on the research currently presented on the web page is limited. This is not to lead the visitors of the web page, thus creating biased answers in the questionnaire.

To spread the questionnaire, I will use Facebook and targeted e-mail messages that are disseminated by the participants, causing a domino effect. This approach resulted in more than 50 completed questionnaires in the first week.

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