This session explores the prospect of radical social transformation by critically examining the praxis of science, activism, and policy through a postclassical lens. Four confirmed papers explore moving from quantum social theory to social practice; employing narrative analysis as a framework for understanding ontological security at the Arctic ice edge; identifying NJ boundary organizations focusing on climate change and feminist science studies; and rethinking agency through a propositional infraglobalization approach. We encourage papers that explicitly relate critical ontology approaches with agency and empirical studies.
From ontological shifts to action on the ground:
Enacting agency for transformation through post-classical praxis
This paper session explores emergent ways of thinking about social transformation in the face of apparently overwhelming and complex challenges in natural-human systems. Papers take up approaches that pay heed to the relationship between ontology and materiality. These approaches draw from post-classical worldviews that increasingly influence the social sciences in implicit and explicit ways, and highlight the importance of narrative, metaphor and subjective meaning in approaching risk and vulnerability, and enacting social transformation. While the ‘ontological turn’ has resulted in a rethinking of key classical concepts, especially binaries, this session is concerned with how ontological shifts affect and shape action on the ground and positive political outcomes.
A number of prospects for radical social change are examined, with agency understood through a post-classical social scientific lens, from approaches to climate change action to Arctic biodiversity to globalization alternatives. In so doing, the limits of classical approaches and the discounting of consciousness, intentionality and subjectivity are considered relative to the urgent need for complex transformations in shaping material realities. The papers explore how new approaches might succeed where classical approaches with modernist ontological commitments were lacking. The session papers are concerned with theorizations of both agency and ontology and how these might inform radical reconfigurations of ways of seeing, being and doing to meet the complex and uncertain challenges ahead.
Some questions to stimulate discussion and debate:
- How does ontological innovation translate into material and behavioral change?
- What are the prospects for post-classical paradigms and ways of knowing and how can they effectively translate into ways of doing in natural and human systems?
- How does the entanglement of individual and collective action change when we question the classical underpinnings of social science?
- What is the role of intersubjectivity, intentionality and subjective phenomena in enacting deliberate and deliberative social change?
- What does a probabilistic rather than deterministic social science imply for the outcomes of scenarios for collaborations and negotiations?
- How can alternative approaches do praxis differently in ways that are attentive to questions of justice, empowerment, power and violence?
Discussant: TBA depending on final cumber of presenters.
Submission Guidelines: Please submit abstracts of 250 words or less along with your presenter PIN and affiliation by October 29, 2015 email@example.com. Participants will be confirmed and their abstracts added to the session on October 29.