Instruction

Name Cr Method of study Time Location Organiser
Sociotechnical (re)construction of consumer society 5 Cr Lecture Course 18.1.2021 - 3.3.2021
Name Cr Method of study Time Location Organiser
Kulutusyhteiskunnan sosiotekninen (uudelleen) rakentuminen 5 Cr Lecture Course 13.1.2020 - 24.2.2020
Kulutusyhteiskunnan sosiotekninen (uudelleen) rakentuminen 5 Cr Lecture Course 14.1.2019 - 25.2.2019
Sociotechnical (re)construction of consumer society 5 Cr Lecture Course 8.1.2018 - 26.2.2018

Target group

Master’s students in Social Sciences

Master’s students in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability

Prerequisites

Students should have a good basic knowledge (corresponding to Bachelor’s degree) in an appropriate subject (social sciences, environmental sciences, economics, consumer studies). It is also helpful if students have completed the methodological courses in their Master’s subject.

Learning outcomes

Students are able to analyse consumption patterns in a broader socio-technical context. They are familiar with the main research traditions in science and technology studies that are relevant to sustainable consumption. They are able to use historical, statistical and media data to investigate the historical evolution of consumption and production patterns and conceptualize processes of socio-technical change. Students have experience of collaboratively investigating major ongoing efforts to change the course of unsustainable consumption patterns. They have the ability to develop researchable problems, compile answers to these problems, critically evaluate their own and others’ research findings, and identify relevant implications for policy and practice.

Timing

3rd period, recommended to be completed in 2nd year of Master’s studies

Contents

• Theoretical frameworks of sociotechnical change
• Empirical findings concerning the historical evolution of main consumption domains (built environment, mobility, food, urban infrastructures) and their sustainability implications
• Application of theoretical frameworks to practical present-day problems
• Analysis of forces of stability and change in successful and unsuccessful attempts toward sustainability

Completion

Lectures and seminar sessions (20 h), readings (40 h), groupwork assignment: analysis of system evolution and reform efforts in a selected field (written report and presentation) (75 h).

Alternative way to complete the course: https://moodle.helsinki.fi/course/view.php?id=26236. If you want to complete the course in this alternative way, please contact Senja Laakso (senja.laakso@helsinki.fi)!

Study materials

Ballon, P. and Schuurman, D. 2015. Living labs: concepts, tools and cases. info, 17, 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/info-04-2015-0024

Geels, F. W. (2018). Low-carbon transition via system reconfiguration? A socio-technical whole system analysis of passenger mobility in Great Britain (1990–2016). Energy Research & Social Science, 46, 86–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.07.008

Kapoor, K. K. et al. (2018). Advances in social media research: Past, present and future. Information Systems Frontiers, 20(3), 531-558. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-017-9810-y

Kaljonen, M., Peltola, T., Salo, M., & Furman, E. (2019). Attentive, speculative experimental research for sustainability transitions: An exploration in sustainable eating. Journal of Cleaner Production, 206, 365–373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.09.206

Laakso, S. et al. (2020). The role of practice-based interventions in energy transitions: a framework for identifying types of work to scale up alternative practices. Energy Research & Social Science, in print.

Lammi, M. & Pantzar, M. (2019). The data economy: How technological change has altered the role of thecitizen-consumer. Technology in Society, 59, 101157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2019.101157

Markard, J., Raven, R., & Truffer, B. (2012). Sustainability transitions: An emerging field of research and its prospects. Research Policy, 41(6), 955–967. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2012.02.013

Shove, E. (2016). Matters of practice. In Hui, A. et al. (eds.) The Nexus of Practices. Connections, constellations, practitioners. Routledge.

Assessment practices and criteria

Graded on a scale of 0-5. Groupwork report and presentation (40%), self-assessment of the groupwork (40%), and attendance in class (20%). Detailed criteria available on the course Moodle page.

Relation to other study units

In the Social Science Master’s program, this course is part of the Consumer Studies orientation (opintosuunta). In the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability Master’s program, this course is part of the Consumer Citizens and Sustainability Transitions course package. In these two packages, it can be replaced with the course Sustainable culinary cultures from the Food and Sustainability program.

This course can also be included in the Science and Technology Studies orientation (opintosuunta) in the Social Science Master’s program.

Additional information

This course is part of a multilingual program: papers and assignments can be written and presented in English, Finnish or Swedish.