Quotation Hausknost, Daniel, Gaube, Veronika, Haas, Willi, Smetschka, Barbara, Lutz, Juliana, Singh, Simron Jit, Schmid, Martin. 2016. ‘Society Can’t Move So Much As a Chair!’—Systems, Structures and Actors in Social Ecology. In: Social Ecology: Society-Nature Relations across Time and Space, Hrsg. Haberl, Helmut; Fischer-Kowalski, Marina; Krausmann, Fridolin; Winiwarter, Verena, 125-148. Cham: Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


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Abstract

In a socio-ecological perspective, society is conceived as a symbolic system that is coupled with biophysical elements. The biophysical and the symbolic components of society are considered to co-evolve: the expansion of the fossil energy regime, for example, was on the one hand the result of changes in the symbolic systems of proto-industrial societies while these systems were themselves transformed by the material dynamics the new energy regime released. Social ecology has adopted complex systems theory as a meta-theoretical framework to integrate the analysis of both symbolic and biophysical systems and their co-evolution. This emphasis on systems in socio-ecological theory is balanced, to some extent, by a focus on actors in empirical socio-ecological research. The concept of actors and their agency play an important role in transdisciplinary research, in local studies, and in environmental history. But how do these actor-centred areas of research connect to the systems-centred theoretical framework of social ecology? How is agency accommodated in systems and to what extent can systems and their structures be influenced by actors? This Chapter explores these questions both theoretically as well as in relation to concrete research examples. In doing so, it highlights some of the unresolved theoretical questions in social ecology and points at possible ways for their resolution.

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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Chapter in edited volume
Language English
Title `Society Can¿t Move So Much As a Chair!¿¿Systems, Structures and Actors in Social Ecology
Title of whole publication Social Ecology: Society-Nature Relations across Time and Space
Editor Haberl, Helmut; Fischer-Kowalski, Marina; Krausmann, Fridolin; Winiwarter, Verena
Page from 125
Page to 148
Location Cham
Publisher Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Year 2016
ISBN 978-3-319-33324-3

Associations

People
Hausknost, Daniel (Details)
External
Gaube, Veronika (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Haas, Willi (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Lutz, Juliana (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Schmid, Martin (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Singh, Simron Jit (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Smetschka, Barbara (Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)
Organization
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
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