Energy, labor, humans (eng)

Materials, Objects, Gestures: Transition Practices

Series of SoLaRS Seminars. November 2017 - June 2018 Department of Culture, Politics and 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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The first cycle ofSoLaRS  Seminars 2017/2018, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin.

1st meeting November 7st, 2017: “ENERGY AND WORK: ONTOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS”

Talker:

  • Dario Padovan: (Sociologist - Department of Culture, Politics and Society, UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Development and Land Management)

Our Social daily life is deeply rooted and organized around large concentrations of energy and raw materials that support and absorb increasing volumes of activity. Nevertheless, this material and energy regime is increasingly unsustainable. The horizon emerging from Ecological Crisis due by the usage of fossil energy (climate change, alteration of the nitrogen cycle, loss of biodiversity) presents problematic elements both for the dynamics of reproduction of the earth system and for the global capitalist accumulation.

2nd meeting November 14st, 2017: "THE END OF WORKING SOCIETY AND THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM".

Talker:

  • Anselm Jappe (Bonn 1962, studied in Rome and Paris, is currently Aesthetics’ professor in Italy and France, has worked on the work of Guy Debordt and, since the mid-90s, the original reworking of Marx's "Criticism of Value")

For many eyes, the current crisis is a financial crisis caused by a group of speculators’ avarice, which needs the strengthening of the state or policies aimed at growth and redistribution. Jappe, one of the major theorists of the international current called value critique, is instead convinced that this crisis is a decisive step towards the historical exhaustion of capitalism. Replacing the workforce with technologies disintegrated, progressively, the very substance of value, making obsolete the work and the Society based on this.

3rd meeting November 21st, 2017: BIOMETEOROLOGY: READ AND PREVENT THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, THE CONCEPT OF VULNERABILITY".

Talker:

  • Alessandro Pezzuoli:(Bio Meteorologo- Inter-University Department of Territorial Policies Project)

The meeting takes place during the UNESCO week for Sustainability Education (20 - 26 November 2017), promoted by the National Committee for Education on Sustainability - Agenda 2030, dedicated to the theme "Climate change and environmental refugees".

The roundtable in which they will participate:

  • Dario Padovan (Sociologist, Department of Culture, Politics and Society, Unesco Chair - UniTo)
  • Mario Salomone (World Environmental Education Congress’ General Secretary, director of .eco and Cultures of Sustainability)
  • Roberto Beneduce (Anthropologist, Department of Culture, Politics and Society)
  • Mauro Bonaiuti (Bioeconomist, University of Turin)

4th meeting November 28st, 2017: "DNA IS NOT OUR DESTINY: AN INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL EPIGENETICS"

  • Savino Sciascia (Researcher - Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin)

"Epigenetics consists in all those occult and wonderful things that genetics cannot explain". (Denise Barlow)

Epigenetics studies the inheritable changes in the function of the genome that occur without changes in the DNA sequence. Currently, we are trying to find out how our genes work and how their behavior can radically change from one generation to another, even without altering the DNA sequence. A single gene expresses itself also in relation with all interactions that human has with the environment (lifestyles, nutrition, pollution, kind of substances’ contact, and the type of work activity carried out).

5th December 5th, 2017: "TO MANAGE THE POST-DISASTER"

Talker:

  • Dipak Raj Pant (Ph.D. Anthropologist and economist - Senior Fellow Society for Applied Anthropology USA Carlo Cattaneo University LIUC)

The seminar addresses the topic of post-disaster management, focusing the challenges to change for a sustainability perspective. In particular will be analyzed the masterplan’ case of the reconstruction following the earthquake of spring 2015 in the Central Himalayas (Nepal).

6th meeting December 12th, 2017: "THE ANTHROPOCENE AND THE GLOBAL FUTURE: A GEOMORPHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE"

Talker:

  • Prof. Marco Giardino (University of Turin - Department of Earth Sciences)

Human is a morphogenetic agent. Its ability to modify the terrestrial environment has increased in human history, to the point of conditioning the same processes regulating the functioning of our planet. From a theoretical-scientific point of view, this fact is absorbed in the concept of Anthropocene. From a practical-applicative point of view, today's problem is to understand what changes will be imposed by man on the biosphere and on the geosphere. The seminar proposes to analyze the fundamental components of geodiversity and their modifications. Subsequently will introduce cases studies illustrating some "juxtapositions" such as the environment-hazard-vulnerability-risks dynamic on the one hand and on the other the geo-differences, the geo-resources, the impacts of anthropogenic activities.

The second cycle of SoLaRS Seminars 2017/2018, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin.

1st meeting 8 February 2018: "LITTERING: HOW THE OBJECTS INFLUENCE THE DAILY LIFE GESTURES"

Talker:

  • 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 cannot 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.

      

2nd meeting February 15: "THE INDICATORS OF ISTAT FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES OF THE UNITED NATIONS (SDGs)"

Talkers:

  • 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.

      

3rd meeting March 1st, 2018: "THE COLLAPSE OF MODERNIZATION: ROBERT KURZ AND THE ADVENT OF CAPITALOCENE"

Talkers:

  • 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.

      

4th meeting  March 15th, 2018: "THE MATERIAL INTENSITY OF THE WORLD ECONOMY: A LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE"

Talker:

  • Fiorenzo Martini (Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, SoLaRS)

Starting from the indications contained inside the Agenda 2030 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.

                        

5th meeting March 29th, 2018: "NEW CONCEPTUAL APPROACHES AND METHODS FOR ENERGY TRANSITION: TWO RESEARCH PROPOSALS"

Talkers:

  • 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.

    

The third cycle of SoLaRS Seminars 2017/2018, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin.

1st meeting April 12th, 2018:"ENERGY COOPERATIVES IN THE EU AND US: A COMPARISON OF DECENTRALIZED ENERGY PRACTICES AND THE POTENTIAL TO POSITIVELY IMPACT THE LOW CARBON ENERGY TRANSITION".

Talker:

  • 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.

      

2nd meeting April 19th, 2018: "DIMINISHING RETURNS: THE CASE OF PRODUCTIVITY IN EUROPE AND US MONETARY POLICY"

Talkers:

  • 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. 

    

3rd meeting May 3, 2018: "THE CONCEPT OF EMERGY AS A TOOL FOR UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYZING SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY"

Talkers:

  • 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 discussed, which is the quantitative memory of the resources invested by man and the biosphere. It discusses the possible role of eMergics analysis in different transition scenarios.

    

4th meeting May 31th, 2018: "PUBLIC WATER USE AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: TOWARDS A WFD COMPLIANT WATER PRICING REFORM"

Talkers:

  • 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.

    

5th meeting June 7th, 2018: "THE USE OF THE CROWDFUNDING IN THE ENERGY SECTOR: ALTERNATIVE FINANCE AND EMPOWERMENT?"

Talker:

  • Chiara Candelise Research Fellow (Centre for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (IEFE), Bocconi (Italy) e Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT), Imperial College London)

Crowdfunding allows fundraising, through web platforms, by a widespread public financing project and the development of products and services. Its use in the energy sector is relatively recent: since 2012, the sector has grown by collecting over 300 million euros for investments in renewable energy, with the explicit objective of facilitating citizens' access to sustainable investments. The seminar will analyze and discuss the declination of some models (financial and non-financial), the types of financed projects, and the role of citizens and actors in the sector, as well as some potential for empowerment and involvement of citizens in the energy transition.

6th meeting June 14TH, 2018: "ENERGY, PROMETHEICS TECHNOLOGIES, AND SOCIO-TECHNICAL SCHEMES: RESEARCHING PATHS BETWEEN SUSTAINABILITY AND AUTONOMY"

Talker:

  • Mauro Bonaiuti (Bioeconomist, University of Turin)

The subdivision of human evolution into phases has been the subject of various disciplines and is still very controversial today. In this framework, the possible role played by energy and some "Promethean" innovations will be analyzed in explaining the steps that are the three main "socio-technical regimes": hunter and gatherer societies, agricultural ones and finally, industrial companies. The implications of the current debate (in particular with regard to sustainability and autonomy) will be presented, using interpretative tools coming from the bioeconomy sphere, from the theory of complex systems and from evolutionary biology, finally, delineating some possible paths research.

Alessandro Pezzoli: (Bio Metereologo - Inter-University Department of Territorial Policies Project)
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