Watch: Andy Stirling and Sobia Kaker on Covid-19, uncertainty and development

In a virtual Sussex Development Lecture on 12 November 2020, Andy Stirling and Sobia Ahmad Kaker discussed the politics of uncertainty in the light of Covid-19 pandemic. The conversation drew on insights from the STEPS book The Politics of Uncertainty: Challenges of Transformation, published this year by Routledge, of which both speakers are co-authors. You…

Thriving in an ever-changing world: from technocratic control to emancipatory care?

This is the fourth and last in a series of blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read part 1 / part 2 / part 3 The first three in this quartet of blogposts explored whether…

pastoralism and uncertainty course heading

Online course: Pastoralism and Uncertainty

A new online course introduces key debates and concepts about pastoralism, and explores the varying ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty around the world. Based on the work of PASTRES, a research programme linked to the STEPS Centre, the course is aimed at students, practitioners and policy-makers. It is divided into 13 parts with a…

A manifesto for models: New Nature Comment article

A new comment article in Nature by a group of authors, including STEPS co-director Andy Stirling (SPRU), takes the form of a ‘manifesto’ for responsible mathematical modelling. This relates to the theme of Uncertainty which cuts across various important projects and research agendas. The article aims to persuade those developing and using models to examine…

A Kharai camel stands with factory chimney stacks behind it on the horizon.

How pastoralists in Kutch respond to social and environmental uncertainty

The TAPESTRY project is working in three different ‘patches’ across India and Bangladesh, creating opportunities for interactions with communities in marginalised environments to co-produce transformative change in sustainable development. In this blog post, Lyla Mehta (IDS), Mihir Bhatt (AIDMI) and Pankaj Joshi (Sahjeevan) introduce the research that TAPESTRY is undertaking together with the Kutch camel…

control dials

Modernity Without its Clothes: the pandemic crisis shines a light on futilities of control

With so many self-appointed pundits (like me!) currently locked down with their laptops, the present rush of commentary on how to pivot the coronavirus crisis is hardly surprising. Beyond the general news and commentary, scores of articles are exploding across the media, diagnosing what this global catastrophe means, and prescribing how it can be turned…

A Tale of Crab Farming in Satkhira: Navigating Uncertainties ‘from below’ in the Sundarbans

The TAPESTRY research project is exploring how transformations may occur ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty. In this blog post, Shababa Haque and Mahmuda Mity, part of the research team in Bangladesh, share this story of people living on the ‘front line’ of drastic environmental changes in the Sundarbans. In the…

Uncertainty and the Zimbabwean economy

Over the last month there have been a number of reviews of progress – or the lack of it – since the ‘coup’ of November 2017 (see, for example, a recent BSR here). President Mnangagwa arrived in post on the back of much good will and hope for change. But hopes have been dramatically dashed…

People walking along a flooded causeway

How can NGOs feel at home with uncertainty?

by Irene Guijt, Head of Research and Publishing at Oxfam Great Britain Uncertainty is a given in Oxfam. Each day brings new concerns, unexpected twists in relationships and the rollercoasters of dynamic contexts. We adjust out of necessity. But how explicitly do we build uncertainty into our work? And how do we not get paralysed…

STEPS Uncertainty Podcast

The STEPS Uncertainty Podcast is a series of four conversations recorded with participants after our symposium in July 2019, available as a podcast to stream or download. The symposium, The Politics of Uncertainty: Practical Challenges for Transformative Action, explored the many ways that people understand and respond to uncertainty in different domains – including finance…