How politics closes down uncertainty

In a previous blog post, I discussed how uncertainty is a subjective state of knowledge, not an objective condition in the world. The example of nuclear accident risks shows how many deep and intractable forms of uncertainty, ambiguity and ignorance can defy single neatly-calculated aggregations. Yet around the world, strong pressures act on academia and…

University of Rwanda

How can knowledge systems in East Africa contribute to sustainable development?

Unpacking Knowledge Systems for sustainable development in East Africa: Practical perspectives from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania by Joanes Atela, Fiona Marshall, Nora Ndege, Joanna Chataway, Andy Frost and Andy Hall, Knowledge Systems Project Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is rising up the agenda in East Africa – and it is being embraced as a way…

tree pattern

Politics in the language of uncertainty

Uncertainty is not a condition out there in the world. It is a state of knowledge – deeply embedded and shaped in society. The difference may seem abstract. But it could hardly be of more profound or practical importance. And this has arguably never been more true than in today’s turbulent world. One key upshot…

Should political ecology be populist?

By Diego Andreucci Political ecology should take populism seriously, not only because of its authoritarian or regressive manifestations, but also for its transformative potential. The rise of right-wing populism is intimately connected to the failure of what Marxist Feminist philosopher Nancy Fraser dubbed ‘progressive neoliberalism’. For Fraser, the Left should reject the false choice between the…

Art, Uncertainty and System Change

It is becoming increasingly common to see funders, at national and international levels, in the sciences, arts and humanities, encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to various fundamental policy challenges. Initiatives focusing on the interface between art and environment, or art and ecology, mostly have emerged from an arts-based starting point, but the Arts and Environment Network (AEN)…

Embracing uncertainty: what are the implications for sustainability and development?

Uncertainty is a concept that defines our times. Every media headline seems to assert that things are uncertain, and increasingly so. Whether it’s climate change, disease outbreaks, economic conditions or political settlements, the same narrative exists. Helga Nowotny, in her book The Cunning of Uncertainty, argues that “uncertainty is written into the script of life”….

Uncertainty is a concept that defines our times. Every media headline seems to assert that things are uncertain, and increasingly so. Whether it’s climate change, disease outbreaks, economic conditions or political settlements, the same narrative exists. Helga Nowotny, in her book The Cunning of Uncertainty, argues that “uncertainty is written into the script of life”….

A fire in the street in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s fuel riots: why austerity economics and repression won’t solve the problem

A day after the president announced a 150 percent hike in fuel prices, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions and others called for a peaceful three-day shutdown. Their demands were simple: end the economic crisis and hardships, reverse the fuel price increase and pay US$ salaries. By the end of day one, there were several…

Viewpoint with tourists

Answers on a postcard: how would you do technology differently?

Picture this… I like picture postcards. I like sending them, and I like receiving them. Despite the instantaneous advantages of Telegram and Twitter, or the range of Instagram and Facebook, my liking for postcards sent from A to B endures. Some I stick on my office wall, including the one above. Stuck above my desk…

Extinction Rebellion

Diets not riots: what would massive public dialogue on climate change look like?

The UN’s COP24 climate conference reaches its halfway point this weekend, and carbon emissions are going in the wrong direction worldwide. Debates about the best ways to tackle climate change are spilling out on to the streets and making headlines beyond the conference in Poland. In France, the gilets jaunes have made a violent and…

Authoritarianism, populism and political ecology

by Amber Huff and Levi van Sant Based on a number of events convened under the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative, we introduce a series of interventions that explore how political ecologies can help us to better understand and confront the emergence of contemporary authoritarian populism. Shaped by the crises of progressive neoliberalism – and its contradictory nexus of elite cosmopolitanism,…