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Engineering the Jatropha Hype in Indonesia

Author:
Afiff, Suraya A.
Source:
Sustainability 2014 v.6 no.4 pp. 1686-1704
ISSN:
2071-1050
Subject:
Internet, Jatropha, biofuels, climate change, energy costs, energy crops, engineering, engineers, interviews, markets, memory, social networks, Indonesia
Abstract:
This paper explores the actors, social networks, and narratives at national and global levels that have been contributing to creating a hype about Jatropha as a biofuel crop in Indonesia. Widespread concerns about climate change and the 2005–2006 rise of world crude oil prices had created the important momentum for promoting Jatropha based biofuel around the world. What have been the drivers behind this hype and which narratives have been spread? The paper discusses the difference between hypes and boom-and-bust patterns, and argues that the latter is not applicable to Jatropha, because a market for Jatropha products has not been developed yet. In terms of the actors’ contributions to this hype, the paper highlights the important role of engineers in mobilizing public support for Jatropha activities. Drawing on the results from interviews and secondary analysis, the paper reports how they have spread the news and claims through the Internet, creating public expectations about the potentials of the crop. Those narratives include one specifically Indonesian argument for supporting Jatropha cultivation appealing to the collective memory about Jatropha during the Japanese occupation period in Indonesia.
Agid:
6516505