The event is co-organised and is suitable for DENVI and other PhD students who are interested in engaging in interdisciplinary research related to sustainability. This course is aimed at breaking down disciplinary barriers and welcomes all interested PhD students regardless of specific discipline. This course has been designed in a way that it is accessible to PhD students who are using both quantitative and qualitative methods. There is no specific prior knowledge needed to participate, all students who are studying at a PhD level should have enough knowledge of academic reading, writing, and thinking to participate.
After completion of this course engaged students should be able to:
- Understand the plurality of sustainability science, the urgency of its employment and the long history of unsustainability
- Identify their own scientific worldview and the potential different worldviews which might be in play in sustainability science
- Explain the different philosophical dimensions of sustainability science
- Implement situationally different worldviews and the scientific implications that follow based on the type, mode, and method of research used.
- Analyze and evaluate the epistemological, ontological, and methodological positionings of sustainability science in relation to their own thinking and research
- Design research that employs the different philosophical dimensions of sustainability science, being reflective, critical and democratic in their sense, science, and impact-making processes
November 26 - November 30, 2018
Generalized Daily Schedule - Monday through Friday of the course week
9-10: Reading reflections and morning exercise
10-10.45: Guest lecturer slot 1
11-11.45: Guest lecturer slot 2
13-13.45: Group work slot 1
14-14.45: Group work slot 2
15-16.30: Reflections of the day, brief of tomorrow, readings for the evening
Homework: 1 article
Sustainability science is an emerging discipline, founded as an scientific and academic approach to the non-scientific principle of sustainability. Sustainability science is defined by the issues it tackles, not by the disciplines it employs. Beyond implying that sustainability science is simply a multidisciplinary science (inter or transdisciplinary), the multiple disciplinary perspectives simultaneously employed under this emerging stand-alone discipline bring about philosophical issues in science and knowledge making processes. To tackle these issues and overcome the barriers in transcending the tendency to get siloed in the often deep-rooted disciplines - one has to be knowledgeable and reflective towards their own understanding of, often plural, philosophical aspects of science. The approaches to better understanding the philosophy of sustainability science and scientific worldviews, specifically, is found in the quality and depth of thinking. The broadened understanding of plural epistemologies, ontologies, and methodologies of sustainability science opens the door for knowledge production which allows for co-creation and outreach from their own respective discipline to others. Additionally, this understanding allows one to shift from solely science making to action upon it. The effective employment of sustainability science has to be built on a firm understanding of its philosophical dimension and an acknowledgement of these scientific worldviews. To bolster the transformative thinking in the formulation process of a philosophy of sustainability science, we utilise the radical academic thought of world-ecology. World-ecology is utilised for its historical and actionable perspective to the process of unsustainability, as a novel problematization of the sustainability issues. This shift of the core problematique of sustainability opens up the exploration to new philosophical nuances, orientations for application, research questions, and collaborations.
The learning path:
The learning path aims to follow a structuration of an employable philosophy from introducing the main framing component: sustainability science as the basis for the process of learning. From there the learning process leads into exploration of different relevant philosophical views, questions and dispositions in order to further exemplify the plurality of the subject. Midway through the course, the learning process aims to conceptualise the first draft of a philosophy of sustainability science, in reflection to multi/inter/transdisciplinary science and especially imagining the philosophy for sustainability science in use. After the conceptualisation phase, the course will further delve into the different social and global contexts in which the philosophy would be rooted and employed. The last phase of the learning process takes a final critical look at the developed philosophical suggestion through an extensive dialogue where the philosophy is reflected on the historical perspectives of unsustainability.
Full attendance at the course and completion of exercises is compulsory to earn full credits in the course.
There will be pre-readings for the course which we expect all participants to read prior to the course commencing. These readings will outline the concept of thinking of the philosophy which underlies scientific practice. It is important that all participants become comfortable with the basics of these concepts prior to starting the course. In addition, there will be limited daily readings which will help to bolster the discussions in the course.
Examples of the readings include:
- Ecology, capital, and the nature of our times: Accumulation & crisis in the capitalist world-ecology, Moore 2011
- The ethos of post-normal science, Konig, Borsen & Emmeche 2017
- Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern, Latour 2004
- Neither sustainable nor development: Reconsidering sustainability in development, Luke 2005
- Theorizing alternatives to capital: Towards a critical cosmopolitanist framework, Gills, Goodman & Hosseini 2017
- Being post-positivist... or just talking about it? Scharff 2013
- Phronetic science: a Nietzschean moment?, Kuschel 2016
Re-politicising philosophy of science: A continuing challenge for social epistemology, Yoshida 2012
Course participation and final assignment will be evaluated by the course coordinators.
The course will be held in English.
The course is restricted to 20 participants.
The course can be taken for either 3 or 5 ECTS (dependent on whether or not participants completed the group work assignment. This must be decided by the latest on Tuesday, November 27, 2018)
Please note that the schedule within each course day or the guest lecturers are subject to change. Confirmed course participants will be given a more finalized syllabus and schedule in early November.
There is intended to be a tangible outcome to this course in that the local coordinates intend to develop, along with course participants, a articulation of the philosophy of sustainability science and the use of scientific worldviews. Discussions in the course will be audio recorded for later review and possible thematic coding by the course coordinators. Additionally, tangible results of the workshop activities will be collected and copied for potential analysis. The identity of all individual responses will be held in confidence unless the respondent chooses otherwise. There will be a consent and release form (complying with EU standards for personal data handling and protection) given to all participants at the beginning of the course with more details. We hope that the potential to create a tangible result from this course will be viewed as a favorable and exciting outcome by all participants. If you have any questions or need additional information prior to the start of the course, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Layers of the course approach:
|Sources||Lectures, readings, discussions, social learning|
|Processes||Internalising (reading, listening), co-creating, contextualising, reflecting|
|Reflection||Critical lessons from the history and processes of unsustainability|
|Utilisation||Through employment of the concepts presented and their functions|
|Intervention||Contextualising the process, needs, and science of sustainability|
|Outcome||Broader philosophical foundation to sustainability science|
|Use||New topics, perspectives, tools, and knowledges for future research collaboration|
|Impact||Development of sustainability, science, and sustainability science|
Teaching activities and methods:
1. Self-directed learning and reflection - the pre-course readings and preparation process of the paper
2. Lectures - given by expert guests on the different scientific, philosophical, historical, application and global positions and facets of sustainability science
3. Workshops - group discussions and activities aimed at uncovering one’s own scientific worldviews
4. Critical thinking - structured critical reflection for situating the philosophy in social, global, historical contexts
5. Academic collaboration and writing - post-course assignment as an essay/short paper written in interdisciplinary teams
We will engage in various types of group work and activities throughout the course, up to and including the post course assignment. The products of the group work are important, but so is the process. We aim to develop a group rapport which supports a safe space where academic ideas can be laid out raw and unpracticed without fear. We will integrate group work activities that use both the left and right side of our brain. After lunch everyday (except day 1) we will have a short creative activity to help stimulate our thinking (and hopefully beat the post lunch slump). In addition, at the end of each day we will have a directed group reflection to help us come together. All the methodologies of the group activities will be shared prior to the course on the Moodle page.
Each afternoon, after the lectures and workshops, the participants have 1,5 hours for critical reflection, grounding, and contextualisation for their thoughts and thought produce.
Katriina Soini from Luke, Eeva Berglund from Aalto University, and Ville Lähde from BIOS Research Unit. More guest lecturers will be announced per confirmation.
At the course the group is organically, or guided to, group into teams of 2-4, depending on the number of participants. After the course, the teams are asked to produce an article, essay, opinion piece, pamphlet, short paper or such as an introduction and insight to the philosophy of sustainability science.
The paper can be at max 4000 words, excluding references, footnotes and any tables or images which are attached to the paper as appendixes.
Deadline: December 31, 2018.
Sophia Hagolani-Albov & Janne Salovaara