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Rootedness and Healthy Democracies


Rootedness and Healthy Democracies

Feb 16, 2022
A 1 hour, 21 minute video featuring Huiying Ng and Christina M. Sayson

This is a special contribution to the blog by Huiying Ng and Christina Sayson, wrapping up the last of the blog posts for SEANNET 1.0 (2017-2021). Huiying has been content manager for the SEANNET blog for most of 2020-2021, and has worked with Christina to complete final edits to the blog, in late 2021.


In the linked video, Huiying Ng and Christina M. Sayson discuss democracy, media, food and agricultural systems, and theory. Huiying Ng is a Singaporean Ph.D. candidate in the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, and Christina M. Sayson is a food sovereignty advocate from Bacolod City, Philippines. Both are passionate about food systems, anthropology, and the effects of neoliberal globalization on marginalized communities.

In this conversation, they bring their respective home countries’ historical backgrounds to bear in an exploration of concepts such as freedom and the commons, and they talk about their respective research and advocacy interests while discussing how these same concepts apply to commercial and community agricultural systems, particularly in relation to two separate but very similar collective farming movements in Thailand and the Philippines, SPFT (the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand) and Bungkalan.

In exploring how these two movements and their contexts (historical, economic, and social) are both different from and similar to one another, an observation is that the solipsistic rigidity of colonial structures, such as the for-profit agro-industrial complex that emerged from the colonial enterprise, tends not to allow for space for contingency, particularities, and diversity. Colonial structures, rooted in European Enlightenment era ideas of individualism deprive its constituents of their humanity, and reconnection with that humanity requires the flexibility to hold room for contingencies and particularities.