Ben White, born in Harrow, UK, in 1946. Ph.D. from Columbia University, New York City. Professor of Rural Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.
Fellow (1 September 2000 – 30 June 2001)
I have been busy developing and refining the outline and some chapters of a study of “Development, Crises and Social Change in Rural Java: a village in Yogyakarta, 1930 –2000”, which has now translated itself from a rather dull village re-study to a more ambitious and interesting social history of the Javanese village of Kali Loro from the 1930s to the present. In the process I produced or revised for publication four articles/chapters focusing on various aspects of social, economic and political change in the village, including one paper co-authored with NIAS Fellow Irwan Abdullah. After one last round of field research in the village in November 2001 I hope to complete the book by mid-2002. I also read a mass of source materials for a book on “Java and Social Theory: Agrarian Debates and Scholarly Engagement”, a critical study of the ways in which agrarian conditions and poverty in Java have been perceived and debated by policy makers, intellectuals and activists during the twentieth century. I have also used the period at NIAS – this was my main ‘deviation’ from my original plan – to do further research and writing on the history of childhood and youth, with a special focus on the changing place of work and education in the lives of children in Europe and Asia (mainly, the Netherlands and Indonesia). Altogether I completed one edited volume and seven articles or book chapters.
Among many pleasant recollections of NIAS, something special was my daily bike-rides through the dunes between my home in Scheveningen and NIAS. In these moments I made plans and composed my thoughts, observed only by rabbits, pheasants and a lone fox.