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Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development
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Seminar: Fabian Scholtes on moral knowledge in technology-based development

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Fabian Scholtes, Centre for Development Research, Bonn gives a STEPS Centre seminar entitled Moral values and Solar Panels: moral knowledge in technology-based development For more information see: …

Fabian Scholtes, Centre for Development Research, Bonn gives a STEPS Centre seminar entitled Moral values and Solar Panels: moral knowledge in technology-based development For more information see: http://www.steps-centre.org/events/stepsseminars.html

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  • 1. Outline
    • Fabian Scholtes, Centre for Development Research, Bonn
    • Moral values and Solar Panels:
    • moral knowledge in technology-based development
    • Introduction: why look at the morality-technology nexus
    • Observations: development and the practice of moral norms and values
    • Moral knowledge: a concept for empirical research
    • The moral facet of solar panels
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 2. Background
    • General objective: understand better how micro interaction works in development practice
    • Focus 1: moral values as ubiquitous but ambivalent aspect in a moral-political field
    • Focus 2: technology-based development – renewable energy technologies (RETs)
    • Focus 3: hinterland of Northeast Brazil – the poorhouse in a regional superpower
    • Focus 4: local practices around the socio-cultural installation and integration of tangible technological systems
    • Link to STEPS: the S/sustainability of RETs
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 3. The morality/technology nexus
    • Insights from STS
    • The ‚morality‘ of a weighty hotelroom key and a fast-closing door-spring: pre-scription and ethics delegated to things
    • Socio-cultural life-cycle of technological devices/systems:
      • from design to use and re-configuration
      • co-constructions of/according to purposes and meanings
    • The morality of green technology: ‚morality made durable, and to be installed durably‘ – but subject to life-cycle
    • => nexus for this research: ambivalence of ‚good technology‘ as a materialisation of the ambivalence of ‚development‘
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 4. Development and morality
    • Assumptions
    • Moral: oughts/obligations, as related to (interaction with) others => formal, analytical, external concept
    • Practice of moral norms/values vs. moral practice
    • ‘ Evidence’ from the literature: strands of ambivalence
      • Undermining/instrumentalising e.g. ‘participation’
      • Moral discrepancies and struggle at social/cultural interfaces
      • Brokerage/translation: moral boundary concepts
      • Emergence of moral order from contestation and improvisation
      • Discursive moral structure
      • Limits to ‘orderly’ and moral practice
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 5. The ‚technical code‘
    • A classical double-bind of donor agencies‘ policy:
        • Get them in the driver‘s seat (it‘s about their ownership/Sustainability)...
        • ... to go the way we want them to (we have to account for success )
    • Stage development as technical fix/support
        • Hide donor‘s influence in technical rationality of means
        • Maintain partner‘s autonomy
    • Technical code as meta-code that enables negotiation (rather than depoliticisation)
    • => Technical, but nevertheless moral (liberally ‚neutral‘) discourse as constructive repertory
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 6. Facets of practice
    • Moral values as social structure:
        • restrictive (norms) and enabling (orientation) frame
        • repertory: strategic and cooperative (boundary objects)
    • Agency: affirmative, deviant, constructive
    • Agents: morally ‚and‘ strategically motivated
    • Ex.: participation : restricting policies, orienting practice, killer argument, unite diverse actors
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 7. ‚ Moral knowledge‘
    • Why understand moral values as knowledge?
        • Differentiate from morality as condition or motivation
        • Capture the structural (frame) and agency (resource) aspect
        • Capture intangible character and levels of consciousness (practical vs. discursive consciousness)
        • Differentiate/relate to other knowledges
          • know-that vs. know-how; empirical (causal/process vs. facts/state);
          • knowledge systems: local, expert, organisational, …
    • ‘ Moral knowledge’: ensemble of moral norms and values that are relevant in context by ‘being known’
    • A sociological approach, unlike moral epistemology!
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 8. Operationalising
    • Some insights from F. Barth’s Anthropology of Knowledge
    • Stock of knowledge: what is known to be ‘good’, ‘just’ etc.
      • elements are overlapping and distributed – who knows what?
    • Ways of knowing (1) : the creation of stock and structure
      • how elements are represented, communicated etc.
      • how elements are attributed a moral status
      • how (new) elements are (re-) ordered and made coherence
    • Ways of knowing (2) : agency and the practice of structure
      • Implementation, orientation, use, manipulation, justification of choices, …
      • Structuration: affirmation, critique, re-production
    • => ontologically, separating these is wrong! It is dialectical analysis.
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 9. Application
    • Where to find and research moral knowledge?
        • ask for judgements/arguments; check moral codes
        • analyse performance of ethics in ‚moral breakdowns‘
        • observe management of daily dilemmas, conflicts etc.
        • explicitly ethical set-ups (participation) vs. others
        • document developments of practice and of the moral status of
          • a policy, a practice, a project
          • an artefact or a socio-technological system ???
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 10. Decentralised RETs: installed morality?
    • “ Worldwide more than 1,6 billion people do not have access to electricity. 80 % of those live in rural areas. […] The provision of a stable and reliable access to electricity in rural areas […] becomes the foundation for development and progress. Electricity […] enables poor communities to take their destiny in their own hands.
    • […] How can access to electricity and the fight against climate change be reconciled? Renewable energies are the solution. […]”
    • ( Ernesto Macias, President, Alliance Rural Electrification ARE )
        • Empowerment: general infrastructure, purposes open
        • Humanism: close to beneficiary, master of destiny
        • Environmental soundness
        • Productivism: create production, growth, employment
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 11. Solar panels
    • Public/collective uses
        • Water pumping and storage
        • Agricultural processing
        • Street and public building lighting
        • Community centre (solar ICT kiosk)
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 12. Solar panels
    • Public/collective uses
        • Water pumping and storage
        • Agricultural processing
        • Street and public building lighting
        • Community centre (solar ICT kiosk)
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
    • Private uses
        • TV, radio, lamps, electric fan
        • small processing units
  • 13. The co-construction of the morality of PV
    • „ what is the device‘s moral legacy when being induced?“
      • who provides the technology? How do their intentions relate to ‚local‘ ones?
        • using and making markets? imperialist modernisation?
      • which are (inbuilt) long-term development intentions and justifications?
        • standard of living, growth, climate change mitigation, ...
      • which are the intended uses and applications? What is their moral status?
    • „ how are practices and people re-organised?“
      • autonomy of users vs. accountability, reponsibility, solidarity, ...
        • SolarHomeSystem vs. community panel
        • Who benefits? distributive justice – man‘s gain?
      • cultural change and the introduction of new values
    • „ which moral meaning does the technology acquire?“
      • a driver of individualisation? Of new dependence?
    • Which MK is practiced in this lifecycle, how, and how does it change?
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008
  • 14. Discussion
    • (How) does it make sense – and is it useful – to research the moral status and moral power of RET, or of technology in general?
    • (How) does it make sense to conceptualise the practice of moral norms and values as a practice of knowledge ?
    • How could sociologies of knowledge add/relate to this?
    • How could sociologies of technology add/relate to this?
    • Thank you!
    • Further comments are much appreciated:
    • Please email to mail@fabianscholtes.de
    Fabian Scholtes: On Moral Values and Solar Panels: Moral knowledge in technology-based development – STEPS, Oct. 31, 2008

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