|Reference Category||Qualification assignments|
|Title (Primary)||Transformative science methods – the human scale development approach revisited|
|Page To||XII, 230|
|Topic||T5 Future Landscapes|
|Keywords||Transformative science; transformation research; transdisciplinary methods; quality criteria; stakeholder involvement; autoethnography; Human Scale Development approach; self-reflexive practice; roles of researchers; sustainability science; energy cooperatives|
|UFZ inventory||Leipzig, Bibliothek, Berichtssammlung, 00546744, 23-0173 F/E|
|Abstract||There is widespread agreement within sustainability science
that a radical sustainability transformation is needed to address the
many crises ranging from climate change and biodiversity loss to growing
inequality and poverty and the notion of transformative change is
gaining momentum. The IPBES Global assessment defines transformative
change as a fundamental change process in which technological, economic,
and social issues are thought about and made radically differently than
before. In this context, the debate is increasingly focusing on the
responsibility of science and its role in promoting transformative
change. Purely ‘top-down’ measures, or incremental steps are proving to
be insufficient. Some are calling for a new cooperation between science
and society, from which solutions can emerge ‘bottom-up’, allowing the
Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement to be achieved.
The main aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the advancement of
transformative science - a new research paradigm, propagated since 2016
that is normatively oriented towards the provision and development of
solutions for sustainable social change, and simultaneously pursues
scientific, practical and educational objectives, with the explicit goal
of transforming the science system. As such, the thesis focuses on
methods of transformative science and contributes to a better
understanding of how transformative science can be consistently
underpinned by empirical methods. The dissertation proposes answers to
the following questions: What makes a scientific method transformative
or at least adequate for being employed in transformative science
settings? What are appropriate criteria to measure their quality? How
can empirical methods be designed or adapted for bottom-up
transformative science? How can change agents be supported by
transformative science? What added value is provided by a self-reflexive
practice of transformative science scholars whose research is situated
between science and practice? As its main contribution, the thesis
develops an analytical framework for assessing the quality of
transformative science methods, which encompasses the stated objectives
in combination with basic normative assumptions and key characteristics
of this research approach. Using the example of the “Human Scale
Development approach” (HSDA) by the Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef
and his colleagues, which was initially designed and used as tool for
Latin-American communities to take development issues into their own
hands, the dissertation shows how an already existing method has been
adapted for transformative science to generate action-oriented
transformation knowledge in addition to analytical knowledge, while at
the same time fulfilling the necessary quality criteria.
Specifically, the thesis shows how the methodological and theoretical potential of the HSDA can be used to support ‘agents of change’ as drivers of sustainability transformation processes in the context of transformative science.
By means of different case studies in energy initiatives in Chile and Germany, the dissertation outlines that considering the human dimensions and linking needs to sustainability opens up new perspectives on possible development paths. A case study of German renewable energy cooperatives is presented in detail to show how the HSDA could contribute to generating systems knowledge, target knowledge and transformation knowledge necessary for transformative change. The analysis of the HSDA serves as an example, indicating how other methods could be adapted for transformative knowledge co-production, and the proposed analytical framework could be used to check how they meet quality criteria.
In a further step, the thesis changes perspective and turns to the role and the related necessary competencies of the researcher within transformative science. In turn, the HSDA is proposed as a tool for an autoethnographically sensitive, self-reflexive practice, which is acutely aware of the distribution of power and thereby takes a feminist stance. As a result of this reflection, the thesis identifies both endogenous and exogenous factors that are understood as indispensable for transformative science.
The thesis concludes that in order to meaningfully implement transformative science, it is necessary to recognize new roles and competencies that go beyond the classic understanding of top-down science, as ‘acting objectively, generating descriptive-analytical knowledge’. Instead the additional aim of co-creating actionable knowledge is corroborated and the quality of its knowledge production processes can be meaningfully ensured by testing it with the criteria presented in the analytical framework.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier||https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=22764|
|Spiering, S. (2023):
Transformative science methods – the human scale development approach revisited
Dissertation, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
PhD Dissertation 1/2023
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Leipzig, XII, 230 pp.