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Platz zum Querdenken (off the beaten track)

Thursday 05. Jan. 2017 - Discussion Thema


Technologies of Rule. How is governing through infrastructure changing in the Anthropocene?

Investigating the relationship between technologies and political rule calls for insightful ways of conceptualising socio-materiality. Analytical approaches need to be able to describe how power relations get encoded in material structures, for example how the design of physical infrastructure reflects the influence of powerful social actors. Conversely, such approaches need to consider how materiality can influence power relations and political regimes. This 'work' by physical artefacts, such as leaking water pipes, can restrict or enable human action, whether directly and materially or indirectly and discursively.

This week’s Off the beaten track Seminar will explore the role of technology and infrastructure in the governability of the Anthropocene. It marks one way of putting the “T” (for Technology) in the “SETS” agenda of WINS, complementing its socio-ecological knowledge base. Following a short input by Tim Moss on ways of conceptualizing the socio-material dynamics of infrastructures and applying them to study the relationship between infrastructure and political rule, we will have an open-ended discussion around the question: How is governing through infrastructure changing in the Anthropocene? To kick-off, we’ll be asking: In what ways and with what effect is technology materializing and institutionalizing responses to global change? Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the role of technology/infrastructure in their own field of research and what research issues in this respect are calling for attention.


Thursday 01. Dec. 2016 - Discussion Thema

Truth, Transformation and Aethetics 

Long the basis for marketing research, and now further reinforced by recent advances in brain science, it is today clear that the aesthetic, both visual and visceral, plays a central role in guiding human decision making processes.  Decisions taken by humans, individually and collectively, are central to the human-environment transformation that have brought about The Anhtropocene and they will play a central role in the processes of human-environment transformations that can effectively address the challenges of The Anthropocene.

This week's PLatz zum Querdenken WINS Semniar, inspired by the engaged discussion held after WINS' screening of the film Embrace of the Serpent on Friday last, will provide a space to explore the place of aesthetics in the governability of The Anthropocene.  The discussion will begin with a 10 minute intervention by Katharine Farrell on the contribution of the aesthetic in film to the social construction of self-understanding of environmental place.  The opening discussion question will begin with the question:

what do today's popular culture stories tell their listener about the place of human beings and human society in the ecological life of the planet earth?


Thursday 03. Nov. 2016 - Discussion Question

Are there systematic differences between how governability in the Anthropocene works in the tropics and in temperate regions of the world?

The world’s natural resources, from mineral deposits to biological diversity are unevenly distributed across the planet. The unequal distribution of biological diversity is linked to climatic differences between tropical and temperate regions. These differences also imply unequal exposure to the consequences of climate change. In addition, globalisation has made it possible for year-round tropical agriculture to supply temperate climate food demands, leading to massive transformations in tropical biomes. What do these differences and relationships imply for governability?