Task 2 Lecture Susan Owens 'Environment, Knowledge and Politics'

Susan Owens

Watch the video of the seminar by Prof. Susan Owens (53 minutes) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 11 december 2008

"What we know about natural environments, and about human interactions with them, has changed a great deal over the past four decades. So too have the ways in which knowledge is produced. Environmental policy, institutions and politics have also changed beyond recognition, and now have global reach. This seminar will reflect on these changes and their implications. It will then take a critical look at some of the prevailing conventional wisdoms in environmental research - for example, the drive towards interdisciplinarity and the insistence on ‘user engagement´. Finally, it will ask whether what we know affects what we do, and will offer three possible models of the relationship between environmental research and policy."

Write down for yourself the answers on the following questions:

  • How – according to Susan Owens – do environmental problems in the 21st century differ from those in the 1960/70s, and why
  • What are the characteristics of ‘trans- scientific' environmental problems? (Compare this notion of trans-science with other conceptualizations)
  • If science cannot be expected to solve ‘real' environmental problems, what roles can it play?


> Task 3 VVM Debate on the authoriy of science