We will host a workshop at the Frankfurt node at ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research on the above topic. In 3 sessions we will explore the topics ‘Researching social-ecological conflicts – Bringing non-human entities into the analysis’ and ‘Synergy or contrast? When political ecology theoretical claims meet practical transdisciplinary challenges in social-ecological research projects’.
The workshop takes place on June 28 14:00-17:30 CET and June 29 14:00-18:00 CET. Participants can register online under the following links:
- Day 1 (June 28) is: https://isoe.clickmeeting.com/se-meets-pe-1/register (Phone participant PIN: 111141864#)
- Day 2 (June 29) is: https://isoe.clickmeeting.com/se-meets-pe-2/register (Phone participant PIN: 914518152#)
Topic 1: Researching social-ecological conflicts – Bringing non-human entities into the analysis (Day 1 and 2)
Research on environmental conflicts analyses mainly conflicts between social actors such as conflicts about resource distribution and access. These analyses generally treat nature as an object of contestations or stressor in human-nature interactions. Few authors from different research fields already started to incorporate non-human entities in the analysis asking for their active role and effects in environmental conflicts. As non-human entities, we understand for example animals, plants, soil, rivers, geomorphological formations and things. Incorporating non-humans as agents in the analysis enables to show the entanglements of social actors and non-human entities, which is key for opening up new understandings of the emergence, development and (non-)solution of environmental conflicts. These interrelations can have the form of a network, assemblage, interactions or interdependencies. The interrelations between society and nature are the research topic of Social Ecology and therefore we propose the new term of social-ecological conflicts, whose analysis treats social actors and non-human entities in an integrated way in the conflict analysis. This may involve integration of multiple ways of researching non-hu-mans, ranging from inter- and transdisciplinary approaches combining socio-empirical research methods and natural science methods applied to non-human conflict parties. We want to take stock of the different approaches to non-humans in environmental conflicts to discuss a defini-tion of social-ecological conflicts, the role and effect of non-human entities in conflicts and suit-able methods for the analysis of non-human entities as agents in social-ecological processes. We furthermore seek to explore the potential of social-ecological conflict analysis for conflict trans-formation.
Topic 2: Synergy or contrast? When political ecology theoretical claims meet practical transdisciplinary challenges in social-ecological research projects (Day 2)
Addressing crises in societal relations to nature involves co-creation of knowledge among multiple disciplines and practitioners. Research in transdisciplinary mode involves collaboration with key stakeholders from problem framing to deriving conclusions. At the same time, crises in societal relations to nature are tied to power imbalances, for instance in shaping discourse on ‘sustainability problems’. Addressing these in a transdisciplinary setting involves a series of practical questions, starting from the distribution of funding among the research and practice partners involved in a transdisciplinary research project, especially when conducted in North-South collaborations. Political ecology offers an enriching conceptual framework for systematically illuminating power asymmetries and uneven distributions of environmental change causes and impacts. While critical analyses provide key insights on how power relations reproduce crises in societal relations to nature, solution-oriented conclusions are rarely drawn. Here linking a political ecology lens with those of applied research and of practitioners appears promising. Transdisciplinary research implies the ambition of developing specific solutions towards sustainable and just development by bringing together multiple forms of knowledge. However, a tension evolves around normativity. Researchers are themselves embedded in a web of power relations, and often witness sensitive situations. They thus have to constantly reflect on being both, analytical observers and participants in social transformation processes. Against this backdrop, the panel seeks to take stock of challenges evolving around seeming contradictions, e.g. when working with actors who are subject to criticism, and the thereby arising double roles of actors involved (research subject, partner, analytical observer, participant in transformation) within applied research processes. We furthermore seek to explore the ethics of linking political ecology and transdisciplinary research approaches, methodologically and theoretically. In short, the panel aims to elaborate synergies and contradictions of political ecology approaches in relation to transdisciplinary social-ecological research.
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