Pop-up seminar, 27.1.2020 at 15.30-17.30, Tampere University, EDU, Virta-building, Edu’s Café (3rd floor). 

Universities have become ever more performative institutions, which build on individual competition and strategic alliances in the struggle about resources and recognition. Therefore, even the increasing funding of projects addressing local and global environmental, social, economic and humanitarian crises tend to follow the similar logic, enhanced by the economist governance of academy at all levels. The externally controlled and project-led action is in danger to remain fragmented, and it’s potential to provide holistic, cumulative responses to complex and comprehensive problems to remain futile.

The pop-up seminar is inviting interested senior and junior researchers and students, as well as other actors, to discuss about possibilities to develop self-organized collaboration cross disciplines and faculties, jointly with non-university actors, to address the intertwined environmental, social, economic and political problems. While the challenges are both local and planetary, so must be the solutions. Although the UN sustainable development goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300) are formally accepted by governments, academic and educational institutions, as a list of separate recommendations – without internally coherent and connected agenda – they seem rather to enhance fragmentation of policies and competition about funding. There are striking oppositions in prioritisation of the goals, such as environmental care, economic growth, inclusion, social welfare or peace. How far are the “universal” values of the (Nordic) welfare state compatible with the constraints of its earthly environment and with the wellbeing and rights of all human and nonhuman inhabitants of the planet earth?

The first step to move forward is to learn from each other: the seminar welcomes short inputs from activities and ambitions related to 1) environmental degradation and care, 2) combatting social and economic inequalities, 3) coping with diverse forms of forced migration, direct and indirect violence. While the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (https://www.ipcc.ch/) have gained world-wide publicity and recognition in tackling environmental degradation and in formulation of policies for environmental care, there are no similar agencies analyzing how these are related to social, economic and political change. However, the research director Lorenz Lassnigg from Vienna (Institut fur Höhere Studien), a long term participant of the International Panel on Social Progress (https://www.ipsp.org/), will act as a discussant in the seminar, questioning whether the connection between environmental care and social progress is feasible. Inquiries and announcements for inputs are welcome in advance by 24.1.2020 to anja.heikkinen(at)tuni.fi.

Photo: Jon Tyson, Unsplash