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Bringing Technology into Social-Ecological Systems ResearchMotivations for a Socio-Technical-Ecological Systems Approach

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Helene Ahlborg
I. Ruiz-Mercado
S. Molander
O. Masera
V. Stralia
Publicerad i Sustainability
Volym 11
Nummer/häfte 7
ISSN 2071-1050
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.3390/su11072009
Ämnesord social-ecological systems, sociotechnical systems, STES, SETS, Anthropocene, technology, review, innovation systems, sustainability, resilience, politics, governance, dynamics, science, scale, power, institutions
Ämneskategorier Teknik och social förändring

Sammanfattning

The purpose of this synthesis paper is to present the motivations and conceptual basis for research on socio-technical-ecological systems (STES), addressing the need for interdisciplinary studies targeting the technological mediation of human-environment relationships. The background is the very limited number of collaborations between scholars of social-ecological systems and sociotechnical systems (SES), despite repeated calls for bridging work. The synthesis builds on an in-depth review of previous literature, interdisciplinary exchanges, and empirical examples. The result is arguments for why a sociotechnical understanding of technology' is of central importance for SES studies, related to how technology: (1) mediates human-environment relationships; (2) brings ambivalence to these relationships; (3) enhances and transforms human agency and provides a source of constitutive power; (4) changes scalar relationships, enabling our interaction with and impact on the natural world across time and space. Furthermore, we present an STES analytical approach which starts from symmetrical attention to technology, society, and environment, specifically targeting interfaces and relationships of critical relevance for SES scholars, and address counterarguments that we have encountered. We conclude that a shift to STES research will enhance our knowledge of system interfaces that are often overlooked, opening further avenues for research and real-world interventions.

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