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Institutional Analysis of Social-Ecological-Technical Systems (SETS)

Target Groups

Master and PhD students. Bachelor students with an interest in proceeding to Master studies, in particular in Integrated Natural Resource Management, Rural Development or Agricultural Economics, are welcome to participate and should contact the Course Tutor. Participants who do not intend to take the exam and to earn credits are also welcome!




  • are familiar with schools of institutional analysis & their analytical frameworks and theories
  • see the plurality of analytical frameworks due to the diversity of nature-related activities
  • know the role of nature-related transactions and interactions mediated through SETS
  • understand the transaction-interdependence-institutions nexus and institutional change
  • are able to engage in discussions regarding integrative and segregative institutions
  • are familiar with theories applying institutional analysis to human-environment interactions
  • are familiar with research designs for organizing institutional analysis in SETS
  • have basic skills in data gathering and analysis for empirical institutional analysis of SETS
  • can apply qualitative and quantitative methods, use experimental and interpretative tools 



The module consists of the following components:

1. Lectures

The lectures aim at the following main knowledge areas:

a. Analytical frameworks

b. Theoretical approaches

c. Empirical methodologies

d. Cases of applied research

Accordingly, we selected the following lecture topics:

  • Basics of institutional analysis in social-ecological-technical systems
  • The framing of Institutions of Sustainability
  • Schools of institutional analysis and their analytical frameworks
  • Selected theories applied to social-ecological-technical systems
  • Characteristics of nature-related transactions
  • Transaction-interdependence-institutions nexus
  • Integrative and segregative institutions
  • Analysing social-technical systems from an institutional perspective
  • Agrarian Institutions as an example of nature-related integrative institutions
  • The new bioeconomy as a challenge to institutional adaptation
  • Institutional requirements as a response to climate change
  • Empirical analysis of institutions and governance structures

2. Group Work

Students will form small groups working on selected topics taken from theoretically and empirically relevant problem areas. In this way, they apply knowledge dealt with in the lectures. The participants define both their overall group topic and their individual topic for their written assignment. The latter must be in accordance with the topic of their group and represent a part of the group work.

3. Seminars

  • Presentations of results from the group work during and at the end of the semester
  • Participation in the WINS Seminar to use the opportunity to discuss with scholars.

4. Examination based on written assignments


More information

Please contact the Course Tutor Miguel Angel La Rosa Salazar, email: larosami@agrar.hu-berlin.de.