Envisioning the future in the present: making sense of uncertainty

The STEPS symposium on ‘the politics of uncertainty’ made me think about a couple of questions that I have been concerned with in my research work, but that I have so far mostly approached from a perspective of risk, and how risk is translated into space (‘riskscapes’). The symposium addressed the issue of uncertainty and…

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…

Poster with text: Eradicate Measles

Measles, MMR and vaccines: where do vaccine anxieties come from?

Measles and vaccines are back in the news. The UK has lost its measles-free status, according to Public Health England. The Guardian reports that about 30,000 children are starting primary school next month with no protection against measles, mumps and rubella, while 90,000 have had only the first of the two vaccines necessary for protection….

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…

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….

Needs of the poorest must be central to tackling antibiotic resistance

by Gerry Bloom and Annie Wilkinson, IDS / STEPS Centre Launched this week is a major report on tackling the growing resistance to antibiotics, published by the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust. We fully support its call for the G20 and the UN to take the lead in building a global coalition for action…

Watch video: ‘India’s Risks’ book launch

You can now watch video of the launch event of the book ‘India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values’. The video features contributions from Professor M V Rajeev Gowda, Honorable Member of Parliament and Prof Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director. The launch event was held at the British Council in…

‘Negotiating Environmental Change’ now available as an e-book

The 2003 book Negotiating Environmental Change: New Perspectives on Social Science, edited by STEPS director Ian Scoones, Melissa Leach (former director) and Frans Berkhout (Interim Director of Future Earth), has been released as an e-book, with chapters available in digital form from Edward Elgar Publishing. The book includes an opening chapter by the editors, as…

Fear of flying: the uneasy marriage of numbers and risk

STEPS Centre co-director Prof Andy Stirling has written an article for the Guardian‘s new blog, Political Science, about how using numbers to communicate risk can create a false sense of certainty. The new Guardian blog offers insights into the interaction of science and politics, with guest posts and regular contributions from Alice Bell, Kieron Flanagan,…

Sustainable business in India: challenges for Rio+20

By Ian Scoones India has seen unprecedented economic growth in recent years; yet with this comes a growing demand for resources and increased pressure on the environment. But how can we combine business success and broad-based economic growth with environmental sustainability? This is a major challenge for fast-growing emerging economies such as India. As the…