Energy, labor, humans. Material onthologies for transition

Series of Seminars. October 2017 - April 2018
Department of Culture, Politics e Society, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin

The economic and ecological crises are pushing scholars to accelerate the integration of social and bio-physical disciplines. Sociologists realize that processes of transformation of social systems can only be understood by considering the material world in which they are inscribed. Bio-physical scientists are realizing that uncertainty in predicting natural phenomena is caused by interaction with the human world, and hence the socio-cultural component is ineliminable by their investigations. In short, the scientific picture is shifting towards new ontologies, or problems that require the integration of different disciplines. This first cycle of Seminars of SoLars intends to introduce such aspects, proposing an initial reflection on the future ontologies of the transition toward sustainability.

For the complete list of seminars visit the list of current activities or The UNESCO Chair page on Facebook. 

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8 February, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
LITTERING: HOW THE OBJECTS INFLUENCE THE DAILY GESTURES
Luigi Bosio (E.R.I.C.A. Soc. Coop.)
Stefano Magariello (Dipartmento di Cultura, Politica e Società - Unito)
The abandonment of small waste in the environment (littering) is a phenomenon that has obvious ecological consequences. The sociological study of the question can not ignore observations and analysis of the practices which constitute it, as well as some daily gestures of objects' abandonment (cigarettes, leaflets, small packagings, etc.). A careful analysis of littering practices can give a crucial contribution to developing actions able to alter this kind of behavior, unfortunately widespread.

      

 

15 February, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
THE INDICATORS OF ISTAT FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES OF THE UNITED NATIONS (SDGs)
Barbara Baldazzi e Giovanna Tagliacozzo (ISTAT, Roma)
ISTAT has been called by the UN Statistical Commission to play an active role of national coordination in the production and updating of the indicators related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the related 169 Targets to promote sustainable development according to the UN Agenda 2030. ISTAT made 201 indicators available: the presentation intends to take stock of the progress and the problems related to in the development of this work.

      

 

1 March, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
THE COLLAPSE OF MODERNIZATION: Robert Kurz and the advent of capitalocene
Riccardo Frola (researcher of the critique of value)
Massimo Maggini (researcher of production processes in crisis situations)
Did the collapse of real socialism really mark the end of an era? With this question, deceptively banal, started the first book by Robert Kurz, The Collapse of Modernization. The author claims that the collapse of communism, caused by the structural failure of the capitalist mechanisms common to the East and West, was only the first step in an irreversible crisis in the world system of goods. A general, economic, environmental and geopolitical crisis. The era that closes, then, is perhaps that Capitalocene that many people are starting to talk about today. A collapse that marked the birth of the most radical of the antagonistic theories of the late twentieth century: the critique of value.

      

 

15 March, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
THE MATERIAL INTENSITY OF THE WORLD ECONOMY: a long-term perspective
Fiorenzo Martini (Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, SoLaRS)
Starting from the indications contained inside the Agenda2030 of the United Nations on the need to gradually release the growth of wealth from the consumption of natural resources, the intervention examines the trend of the material footprint in relation to the economic output over the last 150 years. In particular, reference will be made to the research recently published by the Viennese Institute of Studies on Social Ecology led by Marina Fischer Kowalski, placing them on the background of the history of political economy.

                        

 

29 March, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
NEW CONCEPTUAL APPROACHES AND METHODS FOR ENERGY TRANSITION: TWO RESEARCH PROPOSALS
Alessandro Sciullo (Università di Torino - Dip. CPS )
Osman Arrobbio (Politecnico di Torino - DIST)
The first contribution aims to reconsider, in the broader framework of socio-technical systems (STS), strategies able to involving citizens and stakeholders in the energy transition. According to this approach, the relevance of social aspects is not a simple moral, political or cultural option, but a necessary condition for the operations of such systems. The second project will illustrate objectives and actions of SHAPE ENERGY (H2020), a project aimed at promoting a better integration and incisiveness of Social and Human Sciences in the processes of defining European energy policies.

    

 

12 April, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
ENERGY COOPERATIVES IN THE EU AND US: A COMPARISON OF DECENTRALIZED ENERGY PRACTICES AND THE POTENTIAL TO POSITIVELY IMPACT THE LOW CARBON ENERGY TRANSITION
Winston Gilcrease (Università di Torino - Dip. CPS, SoLaRS)
In the face of increasing threats of climate disruption and energy security, one positive outlook is the drive for innovative grassroots solutions towards a low carbon energy transition. Energy cooperatives have been contributing to this approach, aiming to create more economically and socially inclusive communities, acting as an example for how things can be. The energy transition will be accelerated when citizen engagement is at its core, helping to build trust and stronger cooperation among communities, as well as support more inclusive regulatory systems. However, they still represent a small share of the energy markets in the European Union and the United States, emerging under different forms and influenced by distinctive factors.

      

 

19 April, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
DIMINISHING RETURNS: THE CASE OF PRODUCTIVITY IN EUROPE AND US MONETARY POLICY
Mauro Bonaiuti e Luigi Oddo (Università di Torino - SoLaRS)
The first results of two ongoing research will be presented in the seminar. In the analytical framework of the complexity and diminishing returns of complex societies, the long-run dynamics of productivity in different European countries are analyzed in the first part, followed by those relating to US monetary policy. 

    

 

3 May, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
THE CONCEPT OF EMERGY AS A TOOL FOR UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYZING SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY
Francesco Gonella (Physics, Ca 'Foscari University of Venice)
Silvio Cristiano (Civil Engineer, deals with eMERGY and complex systems at the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice)
According to systemic thought, the applications and the new perspectives of the use of the analysis based on the concept of eMERGY is discussed, which is the quantitative memory of the resources invested by man and the biosphere. It discusses the possible role of eMergetics analysis in different transition scenarios.

    

 

31 May, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin
PUBLIC WATER USE AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: TOWARDS A WFD COMPLIANT WATER PRICING REFORM
Vito Frontuto e Silvana Dalmazzone (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Turin)
Water pricing policies are crucial tools within management plans with the primary goal of stimulating users to a more sustainable consumption and of mitigating inefficiencies. We propose a reform of the methodology by which fees for the use of public waters is defined, with reference to the case study of the Piedmont region. The objective is not only to recover the cost of measures implemented to protect water resources but to foster an efficient allocation among competing uses and the sharing of responsibility among users to achieve adequate water quality status.

    

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