Never Saw It Coming

Karen Cerulo’s book Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst is an interesting sociological book which considers the socio-cultural practices and other factors that influence whether worst case scenarios have a sufficiently prominent place in thinking and planning. The analysis is mostly focussed on the United States of America. Cerulo analysis proposes …

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What’s the most important environmental problem? A (slightly) contrarian perspective

Lately I’ve seen the following James Gustave Speth quote shared on social media: When I read that quote I “groaned” a little. Cultural change is part of what’s needed, no doubt about it, but are the top problems “selfishness, greed and apathy”? Apathy can hamper any change effort, sure, but the emphasis on selfishness and …

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Contemplating the tensions between scholarship and activism

Whilst many people would argue that there aren’t unsolvable tensions between scholarship and activism I’ve sometimes found that there are tensions. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about regarding future career options and directions. I was also stimulated to revisit this line of thought by a fascinating talk given by the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt …

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What is meant by the politics of sustainability transitions?

The latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning is a special issue on “The Politics of Transition” (link). In the introductory essay the special issue editors argue that sustainability transitions “involve politics in the broadest sense of the word”. They cite a broad conceptualisation of politics – proposed by Adrian Leftwich in …

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Some reflections on IST 2016

The International Sustainability Transitions conference (the annual conference of the Sustainability Transitions Research Network) was held earlier this month in Wuppertal, Germany. Wuppertal turned out to be an interesting place to hold this conference. This part of Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) is an industrial region – one presenter claimed that the region produces 10% of the …

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A moral psychology perspective on prospective practices

One of the questions I’m interested in exploring is whether and how prospective practices – such as a scenario exercise or techno-economic modelling – translate into action.  This has been identified as a key problem by other scholars (e.g. link) and a knowledge gap (e.g. link).  Considering moral psychology may provide stimulating perspectives for developing …

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