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Persistent problems plague the systems of society. If you know how the systems work, can you hack them and transition them to be more sustainable, liveable, resilient? Energy, food, healthcare, transport and even cities as such. All of them complex systems, plagued by problems tied up with the very structures of those systems making them unsustainable, expensive, vulnerable or unfair.
Hacking society means intervening based on analysis, using your knowledge of the systems of society to overcome persistent problems. A good hack changes systems and contributes to transitions.
This is a highly interdisciplinary subject. You will learn concepts and methods from social science, evolutionary theory, analytic philosophy and other fields notably sustainability transitions research. No background or prior knowledge in any of these is required though and students from all disciplines are invited.
So what will you be hacking? You will design an intervention to address a real-life persistent problem. You will have to show that your hack will make a difference using the concepts and methods from the lectures, complemented by your own research.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully completed this subject will be able to:
- Convey a good overview of the sustainability transitions research field and its theories and frameworks;
- Analyse persistent societal problems and wicked problems as part of the systems in which they appear;
- Articulate what transformative change entails, both conceptually and in the context of a real-world case;
- Explain the consequences of complexity, non-linearity and uncertainty for understanding and managing transformative change processes;
- Conduct systems analyses and apply the relevant transitions concepts and frameworks;
- Apply basic modelling techniques as part of systems analysis;
- Prepare a policy brief and implementation plan for an intervention addressing a persistent problem.
- Critical thinking;
- Communication skills for written and oral presentation;
- Problem solving and analytical skills;
Last updated: 2 December 2019