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Agency and social-ecological system (SES) pathways: The Transformation Lab in the Xochimilco SES

11th February 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Room 101, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK
13:00 – 14:30
Speaker: Mario Siqueiros-García (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/STEPS North America hub).
All welcome


About the seminar

Xochimilco is a wetland in the southern part of Mexico City. It is part of a system of lakes in the basin of Mexico and has been used for agriculture for centuries. Xochimilco once fed the Aztecs, and is still very productive today. However, now the area is under great urban pressure and degradation. The Xochimilcas (local farmers and residents) have a strong attachment to this land, and a long history associated with it. The degradation of the wetland, as well as the changes in the use of land, are setting a trajectory that is rapidly evolving and is not sustainable. In this context, those who are concerned for the future of the Xochimilco social-ecological system bear a sense of loss and despair.

For two years, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, as part of the STEPS North America hub, worked with local farmers, residents from irregular urban settlements, and academics in a Transformation Laboratory (T-Lab), as part of the Pathways Network. The project aimed to re-frame and identify novel ways for  promoting individual agency and understandings of the Xochimilco social-ecological system, and provide a space for exploring the conditions that foster collective agency. Drawing on the learnings from this T-Lab experience, this seminar will explore more deeply the connection between the concept of agency and the Xochimilco landscape as a social-ecological system. Mario will argue in favour of a process ontology that seems to correspond with the pathways approach, in which agency and the social-ecological system as a unit, play a central role.

About the speaker

Mario Siqueiros-García is an Ethnologist with a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, an Advanced Studies Diploma and a PhD degree in the Philosophy of Biology. From 2011 to 2014, he worked at the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) of Genomics Department of the National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) in Mexico City. Since 2014, he has been working as a Research Associate in the Department of Mathematical Modeling of Social Systems at the Institute for Applied Mathematics and Systems Research (IIMAS) of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). From a complex systems perspective, Mario is interested in the philosophical and theoretical understanding of the relationship between culture.



11th February 2019
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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Room 101, Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
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