بررسی ساختارهای اجتماعی و خبرگزاری در مطالعات پیشگویانه برای توسعه پایدار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29428||2011||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9325 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 78, Issue 5, June 2011, Pages 872–882
This paper examines how social structures and agency have been included in backcasting studies for sustainable development. For this purpose an analytical framework was developed, based on what objects of change (whats), measures (hows) and change agents (whos) are included in the scenario, and to which extent these are approached in an explorative way. Through reviewing a number of backcasting studies it was found that these typically are built upon and elaborated with a predominant focus on the questions of what and how physical/technical aspects could change. Social objects of change and explicit representation or analysis of the question of who could change is rarely included in the analysis. This unbalance brings a number of implications. Firstly, not including social structures and agency obstructs developing socio-technically consistent and comprehensive scenarios. Secondly, through not addressing the questions of how to change and change by whom in an explicit and explorative way, social structures and agency become represented only implicitly and/or are maintained according to the status quo.
Throughout its history, the focal point of (environmental) sustainable development has shifted numerous times, both in terms of problem formulation and of measures to be taken  and . Starting in nature conservation, ecology, and end-of-pipe pollution control, sustainable development then became recognised as a matter of cleaner production, a question for local action and participation  and , and sustainable consumption , , , ,  and . Rather than being consecutive, these focal points have also led to an understanding of sustainable development as characterised by complexity. This complexity arises from the perceived need to integrate social, ecological and technical subsystems ,  and  and from these systems being understood as multi-levelled , dynamic and characterised by different types of uncertainty . The shift in focal points does not only imply a shift from end-point abatement to more pro-active approaches but has also brought about recognition of the importance of also including social structures when addressing sustainable development, preferably through a socio-technical approach ,  and . Backcasting is a futures studies approach which has been recognised as a fruitful way for addressing sustainable development, an object of study which is complex, calling for major changes, and for which dominant trends are parts of the problem . One main characteristic of backcasting studies is the development of one or more goal-fulfilling images of the future, answering the question of how a certain target can be met when contemporary structures block the changes sought ,  and . The images of the future are then connected to the present through elaborating one or more pathways of transition, developed from the future looking back ,  and . Backcasting was first used in the 1970s as an approach for the analysis and planning of energy systems, but has since been used to address a wider field of sustainability issues, such as land use, transport, buildings and food. In this way backcasting can be seen as having followed the focal points of sustainable development quite closely. Also in the field of backcasting can be found a recognition that far-reaching societal changes – such as sustainable development – require social structures to be included in the process of change , , , , ,  and . However, recognition in theory does not equate recognition in practice. This paper aims at exploring to which extent this recognition has influenced the practice of backcasting; i.e. in which ways and to what extent do backcasting studies of sustainable development include, analyse and represent social structures and agency. This paper is structured as follows: Section 2 gives a brief introduction to how social structures and agency can be understood, while the concept of backcasting is further introduced in Section 3. Section 4 describes the methodology used for the literature review, including an analytical framework developed for this purpose. Section 5 presents the findings, which are discussed in Section 6 and used as the basis for some concluding reflections which are presented in Section 7.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Through examining a selection of backcasting studies for sustainable development it was found that these typically are built upon and elaborated around the questions of what and how something could change. Explicit representation or analysis of the question of who could change is rarely included in the analysis. Furthermore, contrary to the proclaimed benefit of backcasting to break free of existing structures blocking the changes sought, the questions of how to change? and change by whom? are predominantly elaborated in terms of existing social structures and agency and according to status quo. An analysis of how and by whom the changes could take place is admittedly not always necessary or relevant in scenario development. The point made here is not that all backcasting studies need to include a comprehensive and explorative elaboration of social structures and agency, but rather that an increased awareness about whether and how measures and agents are identified and included can contribute to making assumptions about these explicit. It can also be argued that from a social science or socio-technical perspective, scenarios always comprise social structures and agency. In one sense this is true; realisation of technical potentials, behavioural changes, reconfigurations of energy systems, all depend on human activities to come about. However, not being explicit about these activities and agents obstructs analysis and discussion of e.g. the power structures and political landscape in which the image of the future is embedded and through which the pathway of transition is to take place. Furthermore, ideas of social structures and agents in the scenario can appear without being explicitly sought. However, one general finding from the literature review is that there are very few publications in which the questions around which the scenarios are developed are presented in a precise way. This renders it difficult to assess the extent to which the presence or absence of social structures and agency in the scenario developed is a result of these not being included in the methodology, or whether social structures were sought but not identified. It could also be the case that social structures, although not included in the process of scenario development, are raised in the discussion section. This lack of clarity reveals a rather non-reflective approach to including social structures in backcasting studies as well as concerning the implications this might have. This paper is one first step in exploring the inclusion of social structures and agency in backcasting studies for sustainable development. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of the entire backcasting field, more research needs to be done. This could include reviewing a wider field of backcasting studies but also a more in-depth examining of the socio-technical assumptions made. The author is currently working on developing a methodological framework for the considerations needed when adding agents and a dimension of governance to futures studies. This will be presented in a forthcoming paper.