Unsung heroes: Jakarta’s waste picker women and their unpaid care work

by Rachma L Putri “I think, as long as I remember, I never felt happy about my life. There is always too much burden in my life” said Darminah with teary eyes when I asked her about her work and daily life as a waste picker, a wife and a mother. In addition to her daily routine, she has to do a variety of unpaid care work such as providing meals for her family, taking care of her children, taking them to school, and caring for her ailing – and abusive – husband. I heard this story when I visited …

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Before you ‘Just Eat’

By Qusai Khwes I opened my eyes; waking up to my back hurting a bit, and my feet a lot.  The day before, I spent more than fifteen hours in my ‘workplace’. In the summer of 2021, couriers at Thuisbezorgd were not permitted to work more than five hours at a time. In order to be compensated for full time-work like a normal job, bike couriers would return to the hub every five hours to wait a few hours before riding again for another five hours. The lucky ones who live nearby the hub can go home to rest between …

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Photo by Andrei Lasc on Unsplash

Summer break!

This past academic year we have continued with our regular content featuring anthropological analyses of current events (the pandemic and the assassination of Peter R. de Vries, for example), some cultural analyses (such as this one) and some tips and tricks for writing your thesis. This year was also a year in which we have started adding some new elements to Standplaats Wereld. We are very excited, first of all, about the podcast we have launched featuring conversations with anthropologists about the added value of our discipline. We have also published more image-based blogs than previous years such as the …

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Mourning for Amina, mourning for Yemen

By Marina de Regt. “Marina, if I die, will you then forgive me for all the trouble that I caused you?” my Yemeni friend Amina wrote me ten days ago. I have known Amina since my very first days in Yemen in 1991 and was in regular touch with her via Whatsapp. “I am very ill, I have Corona, please help me, Marina, I am going to die, the treatment of Corona is very expensive, please help me”. A few weeks earlier Amina had written me that Corona was spreading in Rada’, the small town in Northeast Yemen where I …

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Mobility and immobility during the pandemic: Experiences on a journey from Amsterdam to Semarang

By Pamungkas (Yudha) Dewanto           As a response to the global corona crisis, authorities all over the world set strict health protocols for travelers. Focusing on the case of China, anthropologist Biao Xiang argues that the COVID-19 epidemic has triggered grid reactions: “Residential communities, districts, cities and even entire provinces act as grids to impose blanket surveillance over all the residents, minimize mobilities, and isolate themselves.” Grid reactions, he argues, are however not about community grids only; the term more generally refers to all-out, undifferentiated, war-like strategies to combat the virus. In this blog, I share how such grid reactions played …

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Podcast # 2 is online! Guest: Aleeha Ali

In this episode, Puck de Boer talks with Aleeha Ali, who studied sociology in Pakistan, did a research master’s in anthropology in the UK and is currently a PhD candidate at the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU. Topics include:-Aleeha’s research on digitization of religious mourning among Shi’a Muslims in Europe – even more relevant in times of Covid-19.-Her experiences in different educational systems.-The diversification of perspectives in a postcolonial anthropology.-What characterizes anthropology and how it relates to other disciplines.-Conducting (digital) ethnographic fieldwork during a pandemic. The close listener might notice a difference in the sound quality …

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What ‘back to normal’ teaches me during Corona

BY PUCK DE BOER Whenever I visit my social media, I read posts of people claiming that this Corona virus enables all kinds of creative inventions and solutions. I see how people decide to broaden their skillset, take crash courses to cope with the online meetings and buy equipment to finally finish their kitchen garden. But most importantly, some people largely celebrate the flexibility that they have gained and imagine how this period will transform the way we live in a post-Corona era. Let’s be honest, I am one of those people. I finally bought Piketty’s Capital in the 21st …

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Venezuelans affected twice by COVID-19 actions in Latin America

Rigorous measures against the corona pandemic in Latin America affect the millions of Venezuelan migrants harder than local populations on the continent. The closure of borders with neighbouring countries also has far-reaching consequences for Venezuelans at home. International action is needed to avoid a worsening humanitarian drama. Mid-March, the Colombian government declared a state of emergency because of COVID-19, and abruptly closed its borders with Venezuela. In response, local authorities transported undocumented Venezuelans across the country to the border in hundreds of buses. Since informal businesses dried up and local soup kitchens closed in Cúcuta, the largest border town in …

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‘Humanizing’ Indonesia’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response

BY RATU AYU ASIH KUSUMA PUTRI AND PAMUNGKAS A. DEWANTO While the rich industrial countries are simply readjusting their national budgets amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the fiscal options for the middle-to-low income countries seem to be strictly limited. The Indonesian government, for instance, has undergone about USD 51 billion deficit after allocating about USD 25 billion for the health sector and other incentives for the COVID-19 relief. Unfortunately, in coping with this unprecedented crisis, the government not only experiences financial deficit but also ‘implementation deficit’ in channelling the pandemic relief. Jokowi administration relies heavily on the centralized database and numeric …

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COVID-19 in a war zone

BY MARINA DE REGT “Marina, how are you? I am worried about you, how is the situation with Corona?” a Yemeni friend asked me last week via Whatsapp. It was not the first time that one of my friends showed their concern about the situation in the Netherlands, which touched me greatly. They are living Yemen, in the midst of a civil war that has led to the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world according to the United Nations, and worry about me, living in one of the most economically developed countries. Their concerns are inspired by the images they …

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