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    Is ancestor veneration the most universal of all world religions? A critique of modernist cosmological bias
    Reuter, T (University of Indonesia, Faculty of Humanities, 2014-01-01)
    Research by anthropologists engaged with the Comparative Austronesia Project (Australian National University) has amassed an enormous data set for ethnological comparison between the religions of Austronesian-speaking societies, a language group to which nearly all Indonesian societies also belong. Comparative analysis reveals that ancestor veneration is a key-shared feature among Austronesian religious cosmologies; a feature that also resonates strongly with the ancestor-focused religions characteristic of East Asia. Characteristically, the religions of Austronesian-speaking societies focus on the core idea of a sacred time and place of ancestral origin and the continuous flow of life that is issuing forth from this source. Present-day individuals connect with the place and time of origin though ritual acts of retracing a historical path of migration to its source. What can this seemingly exotic notion of a flow of life reveal about the human condition writ large? Is it merely a curiosity of the ethnographic record of this region, a traditional religious insight forgotten even by many of the people whose traditional religion this is, but who have come under the influence of so-called world religions? Or is there something of great importance to be learnt from the Austronesian approach to life? Such questions have remained unasked until now, I argue, because a systematic cosmological bias within western thought has largely prevented us from taking Ancestor Religion and other forms of “traditional knowledge” seriously as an alternative truth claim. While I have discussed elsewhere the significance of Ancestor Religion in reference to my own research in highland Bali, I will attempt in this paper to remove this bias by its roots. I do so by contrasting two modes of thought: the “incremental dualism” of precedence characteristic of Austronesian cultures and their Ancestor Religions, and the “transcendental dualism” of mind and matter that has been a central theme within the cultural history of Western European thought. I argue for a deeper appreciation of Ancestor Religion as the oldest and most pervasive of all world religions.
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    Gods on Earth: Immanence and Transcendence in Indian Ideology and Praxis
    Reuter, TA (INCAA, 2013)
    Questions concerning the relative importance to Indian civilisation of the Brahmana-dominated model of religious status hierarchy and the royal model of divine kingship and associated hierarchies of state power have been referred to as ‘the central conundrum of Indian social ideology’. These two models of hierarchy nonetheless derive from a broader Indian worldview and both shape, and are shaped by, the existential realities of Indian social life and of life in general. They represent an attempt to respond to a ‘central conundrum’ of human sociality – how to differentiate between the members of a society in terms of status – and a central dilemma of human existence – how to be at once engaged with the world and elevated beyond the ordinary conditions of embodied existence. This paper endeavours to achieve a more unified perspective on Indian kingship and Brahmanism by exploring their relation to the world of social action, and action more generally. Indian civilisation has struggled for millennia with the fundamental existential conflicts of ‘being in the world.’ Hence what is to be gained from unravelling the products of this struggle is not only a better understanding of Indian culture alone but of human experience in general.
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    Regaining Lost Ground: A Social Movement for Sustainable Food Systems in Java, Indonesia
    Reuter, T ; MacRae, G (OpenEdition, 2019)
    Since the 1960s, Indonesia has industrialised agriculture, following the model promoted by the global bio-tech research complex and development agencies. Alternative approaches favoured by local grassroots organisations and NGOs include solutions grounded in moral economic systems of communal solidarity, small-scale production, local knowledge and the localisation of distribution and consumption networks. To illustrate the viability of such alternatives, we explore new Indonesian farmers’ movements that seek to produce high-yield, high-quality low-cost food using ecologically responsible food production methods and ‘symbiotic cooperation’ strategies founded upon a moral economy ethos. Our case studies contribute to a model for a worldwide transition to socially and ecologically sustainable regional food systems.
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    Local and Regional Initiatives for Sustainable Food Systems in Indonesia
    Reuter, T ; Macrae, G ; Oosterbeek, L ; Caron, L (Instituto Terra e Memória, 2019)
    Limited supply, increasing demand, environmental change and inequality are major drivers of a looming global food security crisis, and Indonesia is among 30 most at risk countries. Since the 1960s Indonesia has industrialised agriculture, following the advice of the global bio-tech research complex, corporations and development agencies. There is, however, an alternative approach, favoured by local grassroots organisations, NGOs and many researchers; of moral economy-based solutions grounded in communal solidarity, small-scale production, local knowledge and direct distribution networks. To illustrate the viability of this alternative, the paper explores new farmers’ initiatives that provide high-yield, high-quality, low-cost food with ecologically and socially responsible methods. Using ‘symbiotic cooperation’ strategies founded upon a moral economy ethos, they protect farmer livelihoods and vulnerable consumers. The case studies presented contribute toward a model for a worldwide transition to socially and ecologically sustainable regional food systems.
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    World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA)
    Reuter, TA ; Callan, H (Wiley, 2018)
    Since the early twentieth century, countless modern anthropological studies have paid tribute to the richness of cultural diversity across societies, as well as highlighting some of the existential conditions we all share as human beings. The discipline has not been able to serve as an undistorted mirror of this unity in diversity, however, because scholars from a few privileged nations have dominated the process of anthropological knowledge construction over most of this period of time. The World Council of Anthropological Associations was founded to overcome this deficit by providing a global platform for free communication and democratic participation in the spirit of a new “world anthropologies” paradigm.
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    Anthropology and Resurgent Nationalism
    Reuter, T (American Anthropological Association, 2019-12-01)
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    World Anthropology and its Institutional Challenges: A history of the transformative impact of democratic internationalization on the discipline of anthropology
    Reuter, T (Lietuvos Istorijos Institutas (Lithuanian Institute of History), 2019)
    Anthropology reveals a rich diversity of human cultures, while also highlighting our commonalities. The discipline is a distorted mirror of this unity in diversity, however, so long as anthropologists from only a few, privileged cultures dominate the process of global knowledge construction. The World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA) was founded to address this. The WCAA provides a global platform for democratic participation in the spirit of a new ‘world anthropologies’ paradigm, which recognises that our understanding of other cultures is perspectivistic, and hence, to be fully understood, every culture needs to be contemplated from the multiple perspectives of all ‘anthropologies’.
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    Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production
    Reuter, T ; Bengtsson, M ; Cohen, L ; Dendler, L ; Dewick, P ; Dobernig, K ; Fischer, D ; Jaeger-Erben, M ; Hofstetter, J ; Jensen, C ; Lambino, R ; Lorek, S ; Mallee, H ; McGreevy, S ; Quist, J ; Sarkis, J ; Schröder, P ; Stevis, D ; Vergragt, P ; Welch, D (Belmont Forum, 2019)
    With the global population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and in view of finite resource availability and resilience of the Earth system, current patterns of global development are not socially or environmentally sustainable. Solutions to address the underlying challenges are urgent and necessary, but to be effective they need to be accompanied by reductions in the total volume of consumption and production of goods and services. This determination is based on three compelling reasons. First, private consumption and its associated production are among the key drivers of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, especially among high-emitting industrialized economies. There is little evidence that decoupling of the economy from GHG emissions is occurring at anywhere near the scale and speed required. Second, investments in more sustainable infrastructure—including renewables—that are needed in coming decades will themselves require extensive amounts of energy, largely from fossil sources. This demand will expend a significant share of the global carbon budget established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and codified in the Paris Agreement. Finally, improving the standard of living of the world’s poor will appropriate another major portion of the available allowance.
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    Global Hunger on the Rise: Development Professionals Perspectives
    Reuter, T ; Akra, F ; Opare, S ; Krishnamurthi, K ( 2019)
    World hunger is likely to increase under the now inevitable conditions of catastrophic climate change. The best strategy to counteract this is to adapt, primarily by increasing crop diversity, supporting small sustainable farms, relocating agricultural production in a timely manner and working towards an international food security pact for mutual aid. Secondly, we need to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from land-use changes, such as deforestation, while protecting prime agricultural land from encroaching urban development. Priorities should apply so that agricultural land is used to produce food for direct human consumption rather than for animal feed, and healthy nutritious food rather than industrial crops (oil/, sugar) that compromise human health.