How politics closes down uncertainty

This is the second in a series of blog posts on uncertainty by Andy Stirling. The first one is here and the third in the series is here. 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…

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…

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….

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…

Enabling Innovations

At the launch of STEPS America Latina in 2015, one of the themes that we focused on at our opening event was what we called ‘enabling’ innovations. These are new institutions, policies or technologies that are not only, themselves, a novel way of doing something or of solving a problem, but that also encourage and…

mobile payment kiosk

How transformative are mobile payments for solar home systems in Kenya?

by Victoria Chengo and Kennedy Mbeva, Africa Sustainability Hub The second Transformation Lab workshop (T-Lab) organised by the Africa Sustainability Hub was held in June in Nairobi, Kenya – one of six study sites in the international Pathways Network. As part of a 3-year process, the workshop discussed what needs to be done to enable…

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…

Flag of Europe as a round plate with knife and fork

Is the new European ruling on GM techniques ‘anti-science’?

Frontstage rhetorics, backstage forces in current debates around the European Court of Justice ruling on GM crops There has been much commotion in the media over the past week, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice over how to interpret EU laws bearing on the regulation of GM crops. The ruling clarifies an…

BioLeft: experimenting with open source seed innovation in Argentina

by Patrick van Zwanenberg and Anabel Marin (Conicet / Cenit / UNSAM) It is sometimes said that plant breeders breed their aspirations about how agricultural production systems ought to function directly into their seed varieties. Over the last three decades there has been a collapse in the diversity of seed breeders (and with it the…