Most of Indonesian population live in rural areas, and most of poor people also live in rural areas, namely 13.47% in rural and 7.26 in urban (BPS, 2018). Rural community as well as ecology have changed or transformed fundamentally within the last decades. Many factors contribute to these transformation, such as development programs from the government as well as from private and NGOs, diffusion of information technology, development of transportation facilities, rise of education and health levels, interaction with “outsiders”, and so on.
Rural development conducted through many ways, among others agrarian liberalization. This can be seen from the development of transnational plantation, which trigger land grab and rise of land demand (Zoomer, 2010). Development trough liberalization has negative impacts to the environment (Gumilang et al., 2011). Similarly, development of modern and industrialized agriculture cause degradation of the environment (Baxter, 1999). Expansion of plantation also cause changes in the agricultural system of the adjustment villages as well as life orientation of the local community (Widiono, 2008). Intervention to the villages also conducted by private sectors such as through CSR and other programs including contract farming etc. Often, intervention processes conducted through intermediary institutions that connect villages with the outside in which communication taken place. These interventions no doubt have brought about structural transformation in the villages. The transformation includes a wide range of rural live, such as local institutions, livelihood systems, population structure, ecosystem, and relation to the land (Dharmawan et al., 2016).
Unfortunately, the social, economic, cultural, and ecological transformation of the rural community are not always produce improvement of quality of life for the rural community. Sometimes the transformation even cause marginalization of the rural community and worsen their quality of life. Information and data around rural transformation are scatter in many places, including research institutions, universities, NGOs, private enterprises, etc. Therefore, it is interesting and important to facilitate exchanges of information and data among many parties regarding many aspects of the rural transformation. Furthermore, so far, there is also a kind of “missing link” between universities and research institutions with the practical policies institutions. In other words, there is a gap between science and policies.
Based on the description above, it is important and interesting to conduct an international seminar to discuss many aspects of the social, economic, cultural, and ecological transformation of the rural life. The seminar is a media to update our data, ideas, concepts, and theories about rural life and its transformation. This seminar seeks to answer questions such as how is the transformation of social, economic, cultural and ecological of the rural community taken place so far? What forces have and are at work that bring about rural transformation? What are the consequences of this transformation for the rural community and their environment? How far is sciences used in designing an intervention for rural transformation in order to make a better life for the rural community?
This seminar is organized by Communication and Community Development Sciences Department in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Bogor Agricultural University.