A look back at the development of iiTSE's focus areas

iiTSE organises its work around four constantly evolving lines of thought.

Firstly, the research interests of the members related to socio-ecological transformations were summarised in the form of keywords (gathered in the word cloud).

In a second step, these keywords were organised into four " reflexive" axes that would allow the members to organise their research interest in the form of themes.

Three of these four themes were then developed during a "World-café" activity in order to enrich the discussions by mixing the different disciplines represented at iiTSE.
The questions that emerged from these collaborative discussions illustrate the direction in which each axe is heading.

From these exchanges, three lines of thought emerged that should animate the debates and future work of iiTSE.

The last area of reflection has been left dormant pending further input.


1. Axis "Times of Crisis"

Initial keywords: (in)voluntary sobriety, transitions and crises, knowledge and activism, individual and collective responsibility, public.
  • From a historical point of view, do all transformations require crises?
Sub-questions: Are there transformations that take place without crisis? Is crisis a prerequisite for transformation?
  • How can we seize the opportunity of a crisis to make transformations permanent, both in legal terms and in terms of individual and collective representations?
  •  What are the factors that explain why a crisis leads to transformations?

Observation : the notion of 'crisis' must be distinguished from the notion of 'emergency'.
From a juridic perspective, an emergency situation leads to temporary changes.
The same apply to individual and collective representations.
When the emergency situation is over, some behavioural changes remain.

2. Axis "Socio-ecological transformations and citizen-consumer"

Initial keywords: Consumer behaviour, affects and emotional norms, consumer (dis)commitments, tools for measuring rebound effects, sustainable consumption, preventing green washing, household practices, the (dis)benefits of sustainable consumption.

  • What are the factors that explain sustainable consumption behaviour and/or practices?
  • How can we define what is desirable, desirable and sustainable?
  • What links the production of standards, the production of consumables and their use, knowing that the connections between these three dimensions distribute responsibility differently?

Remarks: in these reflections, the notion of coherence of behaviours and practices has emerged as a central element.
Indeed, how can norms be reconciled and prioritised between the spheres in which individuals evolve when these norms are in contradiction?

3. Axis "Governance of Socio-Ecological Transformations

Initial keywords: political regimes and transition regimes, democracy and authoritarianism, economic system(s) and negative externalities, relations between citizens and government, collective decisions.

  • How does governance integrate fair and equal participation in the short and long term?

Note: this question combines the idea of integrating the heterogeneous concerns of what is the socio-ecological transition with the question of the usefulness of fair and equal participation.

  • How does the legitimacy of a form of governance relate to the objectives of socio-ecological transformations?
  • Sub-question: Do socio-ecological transformations require a specific mode of governance?
  • What dynamics are needed between actors and processes in order to drive socio-ecological transformations?
  • Sub-question: Who are the actors of social-ecological transformations and under which processes are they needed?

4. Axis "Socio-ecological transformations through the lens of micro-systems"

Stand-by axis

Initial keywords: Socio-ecological systems, agrarian systems, the city, natural resource management, scale-up/out, social processes, circularity.