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Medusa haidresser

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The conference I gave at the SPRU Freeman Friday Seminars at the University of Sussex (stirring quite a bit of controversy)

In the last few years, our societies have been confronted to a new kind of problems. Our planet – once so vast and unexplored – seems to have shrunk around us constraining our actions with its multiple ecological and economical fragilities. Welcome to the Anthropocene! After centuries spent in trying to rule the world, we suddenly realize how tiny is our kingdom and, as the air fill with CO2, how suffocating is its atmosphere. What’s worse, we find ourselves utterly unprepared to deal with the situation we have created. The more we strive to force the knots we tied, the more they seem to tighten around us. The knots that hold us cannot be slashed, but (and it’s our only hope) they might be untied. The fabric of our natural and social interdependencies is complex, but not impenetrable. And this is where social sciences may help, by hijacking one of the strongest forces of modernization (the proliferation of digital inscriptions) and turning it into a source of understanding. Turning inscriptions into traces, and following them as threads through the maze of collective life, we can try to unfold the complexity of our small world and learn to live with it.

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Medusa haidresser

  1. 1. Medusa at the Hairdresser Tommaso Venturini tommaso.venturini@sciencespo.fr www.tommasoventurini.it
  2. 2. Part I: Three Spheres
  3. 3. Crash! Melancholia, Lars von Trier, 2001
  4. 4. The Gaia Hypothesis Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia as seen through the Atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment, 6, 579–580. Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen
  5. 5. The Gaia Hypothesis Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia as seen through the Atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment, 6, 579–580. Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen
  6. 6. Earth as a whole ‘Earthrise’ (1968, Apollo 8 mission) ‘Blue Marble’ (1972, Apollo 17 mission)
  7. 7. And in the same year ‘Blue Marble’ (1972, Apollo 17 mission) Club of Rome, 1972 The Limits to Growth
  8. 8. The End of Nature Latour, B. (1999). Politiques de la nature (Politics of Nature) http://www.nature.com/news/anthropocene-the-human-age- 1.17085?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20150312#/landscape
  9. 9. The great acceleration www.anthropocene.info
  10. 10. The Gaia Hypothesis Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia as seen through the Atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment, 6, 579–580. Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen
  11. 11. Anthropocene www.economist.com/node/18741749
  12. 12. Planetary boundaries Rockström et al., Nature 2009 A safe operating space for humanity The Trueman Show
  13. 13. The Gaia Hypothesis Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia as seen through the Atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment, 6, 579–580. Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen
  14. 14. The Lord of the Flies William Golding, 1954
  15. 15. Emergence “the whole is more than the sum of the parts” The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference (p. 412) George Henry Lewes, 1875 Problems of Life and Mind
  16. 16. The Gaia Hypothesis Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia as seen through the Atmosphere. Atmospheric Environment, 6, 579–580. Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen
  17. 17. The boostraping of economy (the invisible hand) By directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. (book IV chapter 2 paragraph 9) Adam Smith, (1776). The Wealth of Nations
  18. 18. Externalities (or the market failures)
  19. 19. Externalities ex. pollinators & polluters
  20. 20. Externalities ex. fossil fuels Gras, A. (2007). Le choix du feu. Paris: Fayard
  21. 21. The end of externalities “Ecological crises are translated most often by the disappearance of everything external to the human world, every reserve for human action, every discharge by means of which one could, up to now, in the delicious euphemism invented by the economists, externalize actions. Bruno Latour, (2004). Politics of Nature This paradox has been noted often: the concern for the environment begins at the moment when there is no more environment, no zone of reality in which we could casually rid ourselves of the consequences of human political, industrial, and economic life” (p. 58)
  22. 22. Complexity
  23. 23. Emergence AKA the Lord of the Flies
  24. 24. The Danish Lord of the Flies
  25. 25. The failure of COP15 in Copenhagen kidsnewsnetwork.wordpress.com/tag/copenha gen/ The Danish Lord of the Flies
  26. 26. Wicked problems cannot be solved by simplification commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Retrospective_vi deo_on_ the_Montreal_Protocol.ogv/ IPCC AR5 WG3 SPM Fig. 1 Kyoto Protocol, 1997
  27. 27. The failure of COP15 in Copenhagen Hilborn, R. C. (2004). Sea gulls, butterflies, and grasshoppers: A brief history of the butterfly effect in nonlinear dynamics. American Journal of Physics, 72(4), 425. The butterfly effect
  28. 28. Petrified by Medusa
  29. 29. Untying not slashing
  30. 30. The failure of COP15 in Copenhagen “common but differentiated responsibility” principle Which butterfly?
  31. 31. How to dress Medusa’s hair?
  32. 32. How to dress Medusa’s hair?
  33. 33. Digital technologies are part of the problem http://science.time.com/2013/08/14/power-drain-the- digital-cloud-is-using-more-energy-than-you-think/ NSA Utah Data Center AKA the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center
  34. 34. The Bubble Chamber Donald A. Glaser, 1952
  35. 35. Extensive data Paul Butler, 2010 Visualizing Friendships
  36. 36. Intensive data AOL user 711391 search history www.minimovies.org/documentaires/view/ilovealaska
  37. 37. The quali/quantitative divide poor data on large population extensive data intensive data rich data on small population
  38. 38. The micro/macro divide Merian & Jonston 1718 Folio Ants, Clony, Nest, Insects Thomas Hobbes, 1651 The Leviathan
  39. 39. La fabrique de la loi www.lafabriquedelaloi.fr
  40. 40. On datascape navigation Latour, Bruno, Pablo Jensen, Tommaso Venturini, Sébastian Grauwin and Dominique Boullier, 2012. “‘The Whole Is Always Smaller than Its Parts’: A Digital Test of Gabriel Tardes’ Monads.” The British Journal of Sociology 63(4), pp. 590–615 Venturini, Tommaso, Pablo Jensen, and Bruno Latour (forthcoming), “Fill in the Gap. A New Alliance for Social and Natural Sciences.” Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulations.
  41. 41. A first set of disagreements concerns our image of the future: - how bad will be climate change; - how fast will it unfold; - where and who will it strike first. Climate adaptation is delayed http://climaps.eu/#/map/mapping-cli-fi-scenarios-book- covers-with-landscapes-issues-and-personal-narratives
  42. 42. A second set of disagreements concerns the priorities of adaptation: - which regions will be more vulnerable - which sectors will be more affected; - which arrangements will make our societies more flexible or resistant. Climate adaptation is dispersed http://climaps.eu/#/map/mapping-cli-fi-scenarios-book- covers-with-landscapes-issues-and-personal-narratives
  43. 43. Climate adaptation is diffused http://climaps.eu/#/map/mapping-cli-fi-scenarios-book- covers-with-landscapes-issues-and-personal-narratives A third set of disagreements concerns the boundaries of adaptation: - how will global warming will interfere with natural and social equilibria; - whether adaptation generates additional actions or merely re-labelling; - whether previous problems and opportunities are taken into account.
  44. 44. Climate adaptation is opportunistic http://climaps.eu/#/map/mapping-cli-fi-scenarios-book- covers-with-landscapes-issues-and-personal-narratives A fourth set of disagreements concerns therefore the wealth of adaptation: - who will provide resources for adaptation and who will use them; - through which channels will these resources flow; - who will decide how to employ them and who will assess the results.
  45. 45. And as a result…
  46. 46. A classic workflow
  47. 47. But things got slightly more complicated
  48. 48. Sprints
  49. 49. Sprints (Paris)
  50. 50. Sprints (Oxford)
  51. 51. Sprints (Milan)
  52. 52. http://climaps.eu/
  53. 53. Venturini, T. et al. 2014 Climaps by EMAPS in 2 Pages (A Summary For Policymakers and Busy People in General). SSRNDecember 2, 2014. Venturini, T., Ricci, D., Mauri, M., Kimbell, L., & Meunier, A. (2015). Designing Controversies and their Publics. Design Issues, 31(3). Venturini, T., Baya-laffite, N., Cointet, J., Gray, I., Zabban, V., & Pryck, K. De. (2014). Three Maps and Three Misunderstandings : A Digital Mapping of Climate Diplomacy. Big Data and Society, 1(1). Venturini, T. (2010) Diving in Magma: how to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science, 19(3), pp. 258-273 Venturini, T. (2012) Building on Faults: how to represent controversies with digital methods. Public Understanding of Science, 21(7), pp. 796-812

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