Summer School 2020

13 July 2020
Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

Quantitative Story-Telling and Uncomfortable Knowledge | 13-17 July 2020 | Barcelona, Spain |  


As in previous years, MAGIC in collaboration with LIPHE4 offers a one-week intensive summer school on the use of multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism (MuSIASEM) to analyze complex sustainability challenges.  However, this year, the scope of the summer school is larger and we will provide training in a broad, interdisciplinary skill set.

MuSIASEM is a powerful tool to check for the biophysical feasibility and the technical and socio-economic viability of policy options, originally developed by Mario Giampietro who will lead the Summer School also this year.  In the context of the EU Horizon 2020-funded research project MAGIC, MuSIASEM has been integrated in an interdisciplinary package of policy analysis and social science, called Quantitative Story-Telling, or shortly QST.  QST represents an attempt to implement the approach of Post-Normal Science in the process of production and use of scientific knowledge claims for policy.  Acknowledging that 'scientific evidence' cannot tell us what is the 'best thing' to do, how should we then use quantitative analysis to help the process of decision making? We will show that QST is a strong tool that can help identify and define alternative and more sustainable trajectories for environmental governance. This discussion is important, because in order to avoid the attractor of the ancient-régime syndrome [when the establishment refuses to deal with or to recognize its problems even when they become obvious to everyone else], which seems to be a concrete risk, we must learn how to use uncomfortable knowledge rather than suppressing it. With QST one may produce valuable uncomfortable knowledge (checking the plausibility of the official story-telling) that may help inform and catalyze institutional change needed for transitions towards sustainability.

The summer school will give the participants an introduction to the QST package as well as its theoretical underpinnings and practical applications. To cover the science for governance expertise this year we have the privilege to have Silvio Funtowicz as one of the instructors.  Silvio is one of the fathers of Post-Normal Science.

The summer school will take place from 13 to 17 July 2020 (5 days) on the campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain.  Stay tuned, more details on the program and registration are soon to come!  For inquiries, please contact sandra.bukkens[at]


Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

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