Question marks

Responding to uncertainty: who are the experts?

Uncertainties are everywhere, part of life. But how to respond? Who are the experts? These are questions that we are debating this week at a symposium entitled ‘The Politics of Uncertainty: Practical Challenges for Transformative Action’. But they are also questions very pertinent to daily life in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the world. Everyday uncertainties For…

Destruction-prone conservation policies: one pathway to sustainability?

By Niak Sian Koh (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden) and Amos Ochieng (Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, Makerere University, Uganda) In an attempt to address the crucial problem of biodiversity loss, governments, conservation NGOs and the private sector are experimenting with different approaches to increase sources of funding for conservation. On a global level, the…

Learning from crises: state-citizen relations in the time of cholera

The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe in 2008 was the worst ever recorded in Africa. There were nearly 100,000 infections and some 4,300 deaths. The disease swept through the crowded urban areas in particular, and spilled across the borders to neighbouring countries. The deadly bacterium caused illness and death, but also new forms of politics in…

Triple exposure photograph with road sign reading 'Autres Directions'

Towards a more convivial politics of science

This is the last in a series of three blog posts by Andy Stirling about the theme of the STEPS Centre for 2019: Uncertainty. In previous blogposts in this series, I argued that not all is as it seems in the politics of incertitude. Deep intractabilities are papered over with the apparently precise language of…

Reflections on Authoritarian Populism: Democracy, Technology and Ecological Destruction

Using anarchist critique to unearth the ‘roots’ of authoritarian populism can offer a productive gateway for understanding the origins and continuation of socio-ecological and economic crises. The language of ‘authoritarian populism’ creates the potential for a broad spectrum of inquiry, which can ignite timely and much-needed debate on the nature and mechanisms of authoritarian political…

tree pattern

Politics in the language of uncertainty

This is the first in a series of three blog post about uncertainty by Andy Stirling. The second post is here and the third post is here. 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….

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”….

Are alternative visions missing from the debates about sustainability transitions?

by Kasper Ampe, Michael Kriechbaum and Sofie Sandin In June 2018 we attended the IST (International Sustainability Transitions) conference in Manchester. It was a repeat visit for all of us, but this time we left the conference rather puzzled – with the STEPS Centre’s summer school in the back of our minds. In the summer…

A car drives on a mountain road with clouds of smoke in the background

What do we do about the heatwave?

The heatwave has turned deadly. Tinder-dry fields and forests in Europe, most dramatically in Greece, have burst into flames, with catastrophic results. Crops are failing; for some, the health risks of the heat are critical. These events have added urgency and weight to the calls to put the weather in context. A hot day is…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

How can the Sustainable Development Goals be transformative?

The theme of this year’s High-level Political Forum on sustainable development is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” The HLPF meets every year to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s event runs from 9-18 July, with a ministerial meeting on 16-18 July. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to be transformative: they focus…