Frederik de Raat

I was born in 1993 and raised in a small village in the Netherlands near Utrecht. I went through high school aiming to become a surgeon but when I took my first sociology course, biology, chemistry and the whole lot just seemed boring. I have always been interested in the way things work, all sorts of things. The human body for instance, which is why I wanted to become a surgeon, but also what you do with your body and how you interact with other people and how that influences everything about you. If I had been born 50 km to the East I would have been German and my life would be completely different. But even if I had been born in to the family 3 houses down the street my life would have been completely different. Also, growing up in the countryside, I had a little job on the side at a pig farm. I fed, tagged and bred the ‘to be slabs of bacon’ other people -perhaps in Germany- would buy in the supermarket without even being aware of my existence.

These two things made me realize that where and how you are raised -your locality- is enormously important for the way you will turn out to be and that almost every product we have comes from a place we don’t know, made by people who’s life could have turned out completely different if they would have been born somewhere else. There are all these structures in society that shape you from the moment you are born; people expect different things from you and will treat you differently because of where and how you grew up. Moreover you behave in a certain way because of these structures, and thus you are under the control of these structures. Because they feel so natural and solid you wont even notice most of the things you do because of these influences, but that does not mean they are right!

The reason for my participation in this project is that I want to open the debate on these structures in society because I think some of them are bad and unfair towards other people, both within our society and outside of it, and the environment in general. The interesting thing is that everyone can recall at least one experience they had with these guiding structures that was negative for either themselves or others (why do bad students have bad teachers? Why do fathers have such a hard time getting custody over their children in a divorce? Why wont my boss take me serious unless I drive a big car? Etc.). This means that people defiantly are willing and able to talk about it. What I would like to see with this project is that we take the critical approach from so many scholars and apply it to everyday life so that the people that are usually the subject of the scholar can now be the scholar of their own situation and realize what they or others are struggling against.