Monday, 30 April 2012

'Post-normal' Science, Popper and a Planet under Pressure. A guest post by Mathis Hampel

Our colleague Mathis Hampel has contributed this post in which he uses the recent Planet under Pressure 'Declaration' to bring the notion of 'post-normal science' into conversation with Karl Popper and his idea of falsification...

Planet Under Pressure (PuP) 2012, the 'major international conference focusing on solutions to the global sustainability challenge' leaves many questionmarks (see this Merton Stone post by Maud Borie), one of which concerns the never-tiring question of the role of science in decision-making. Silvio Funtowicz and Jerry Ravetz (1993) described the situation which PuP's 'First State of the Planet Declaration'  (unwittingly?) refers to as 'post-normal' – 'facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent'.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Territorial futures and the future of governmentality

In a recent post over at the Merton Stone blog I offer some reflections on my recent Indian fieldwork. I discuss the notion that the ‘scalar politics’ of prediction are key to understanding the work that they accomplish in contemporary political contexts, and introduce the idea that visions of ‘territorial futures’ are becoming a key tenet of new forms of governmentality.

The genesis of the latter idea comes from my reading of Foucault-inspired literature on the relationship between territory, biopolitics and governmentality. In this post, I make some tentative, scattered and nebulous suggestions about how these concepts can help us make sense of contemporary practices of environmental and climatic prediction.