Infrastructures of the imagination: uncertainty and the politics of prefiguration

By Martin Mahony and Silke Beck Sticky imaginaries, shifting frames, irreducible incertitude . . . the recent Politics of Uncertainty symposium gave us much to reflect upon in the context of recent shifts in the politics of global climate change, and what they might mean for the relationship between knowledge and action. Cluster 2 of…

Whose risk? Whose responsibility? The politics and financialisation of uncertainty

At the STEPS Centre Symposium on the Politics of Uncertainty, Susan Erikson (Simon Fraser) and Rebecca Elliott (LSE) presented fascinating cases for the insurance theme, which was part of the finance cluster. Here are two snapshots: Financing Emergency Pandemics In July 2020, 26 investors in the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) are set to reap…

Sustainable Energy Policy in Germany: A Case of Natural Gas Lock-in

A new Working Paper from STEPS Summer School alumni seeks to explain why (and how) natural gas has assumed such a dominant role in German energy policy, and at what cost. The authors call upon fellow researchers to challenge the increasing dominance of gas in energy systems worldwide, and to intervene in academic, NGO and…

Unpacking uncertainty in times of climate change

By Shilpi Srivastava, Hans Nicolai Adam and Lyla Mehta Climate change undoubtedly is one of the most significant development challenges of our times. Research over the last few decades has demonstrated clearly the links between anthropogenically induced emissions and climatic changes. Despite these scientific advancements, uncertainties persist at multiple scales; with respect to future societal…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

HLPF 2019: Why inclusion and power matter for sustainability

On 9-18 July the UN’s High-Level Political Forum meets to discuss progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This meeting takes the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality“. The theme particularly addresses goals around education, growth and employment, inequality, climate change, peace, justice and inclusion, and partnerships. The theme is a crucial…

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…

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…

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…

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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….

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)…