Atika Wijaya, A.W. (2017). Contested sustainability standards in Indonesian agriculture: On the process of claiming government authority. Doctoral dissertation (Sociology and Anthropology), Maastricht University, The Netherlands, and Semarang State University, Indonesia. (Link:

Summary of Chapter 5: The last empirical chapter, Chapter 5, ‘Public agricultural extension workers as boundary workers: Identifying sustainability perspectives in agriculture using Q methodology’, examines the role of public extension workers as boundary workers in Indonesia. We conceptualize good boundary work as the ability to develop a similar perspective on sustainable agriculture by extension workers and their respective farmers. A similar perspective implies that extension workers have fulfilled their function as boundary worker in translating the abstract concept of sustainability into salient knowledge for farmers. We used Q‐methodology to analyze perspectives on sustainability, which resulted in two perspectives; the technologist and the environmentalist. The technologists perceive sustainable agriculture as the use of organic pesticides, and they strongly agree that the responsibility for sustainable agriculture belongs to extension workers. The environmentalists value the environmental aspects of sustainable agriculture. The chapter describes three case studies that differ in the quality of their extension work. Good boundary work needs some prerequisites; highly motivated extension workers; the ability to gain trust from farmers; willingness of farmers to adopt new knowledge from extension workers; and government support for extension.


Teaching: The last empirical chapter examines the role of public extension workers as boundary workers in Indonesia using Q‐methodology. We are interested in using Q‐methodology because it is rarely used among scholars in Indonesia or in relation to agriculture in general. This chapter contributes specifically to the principle of teaching and education in the higher education system. Q‐methodology could be a good alternative to the qualitative approach that students often use for their final theses at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In this regard, students will receive step‐by‐step training in the use of Q‐methodology during a methodology workshop, and it is also possible to include Q-methodology training in the Research Methodology course. The use of Q‐methodology in further research on the agricultural and rural community at the Center for Study and Development of Rural Communities in the department will also be encouraged. Furthermore, Q‐methodology could be used to enrich research on gender and environmental conservation as well. As such, the Q‐methodology training will not be restricted to students from the Sociology and Anthropology department, and could be shared with students from the Department of Politics, Psychology and Public Health at Semarang State University.

Antika Wijaya <> is in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Semarang State University, Indonesia.