About the LexiconEdit
Please contribute to this lexicon
as an aid to share and exchange understanding of the work under discussion, we have started a short list of key ideas and descriptions. It is hoped that this list will develop throughout the project, initially growing with suggestions from all participants, then ultimately reducing as a few key notions are selected for their relevance. One useful notion that we have considered as we embarked upon this exercise was the term 'Boundary Object', used in anthropology to signify something that can connect understandings while still allowing different perceptions. For examples of such use see http://www.interact.mmu.ac.uk/resources/BuildingOnUncommonGrounds
Encounters of difference – what do we mean by this, planned, serendipitous or both? How will the project create these encounters? Project proposes to use cultural difference as a driver...
Activism – instrumentalisation of art
Are we witnessing a further development of relational aesthetics and ‘socially engaged’ practice towards activism in art – in response to global crises? Is there a ‘utility’ in art which will come into play, and what might this mean for artistic practice? ‘Utility’ as a space for dialectical propositions – that set up encounters of difference.
Climate change - a single issue with such significance and urgency that it can overwhelm other issues. Understanding is driven by scientists, but application of political solutions are not viewed alike in all cultures. Who drives this term - which regions, disciplines and cultural beliefs? if particular political responses to it are challenged, how does that affect the perception of the 'underlying science'?
Progressive 'greens' often consider climate change alongside mass extinction, population explosion and the decline of water and oil as symptomatic of a wider crisis that is cultural rather than technical or scientific.
A conservative appraisal of the established scientific evidence clearly indicates that existing levels of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 have already set in motion a degree of disruption greater than has been experienced by human societies in the last 10,000 years.
Climate is a dynamic, non-linear system: the ‘positive feedback mechanisms' in the planetary ecosystems (such as melting polar icecaps reducing reflectivity and increasing oceanic heat absorption, or rising temperatures releasing frozen methane from tundra and the sea bed) indicate ‘tipping points’ that may produce sudden, irreversible change of a new order of magnitude.
‘Progress’ and modernity
Climate change and environmental crisis may demand that the world has find a new paradigm to replace the idea of ‘progress’ and ‘growth’ which is an inbuilt dependency of market economies – how is this viewed from different cultural and geo-political perspectives, ie developing countries?
Sustainable development - a policy term defined by the UN to encompassing natural, economic and social development.
‘The principal defect of the industrial way of life with its ethos of expansion is that it is not sustainable’ (The Ecologist, 1972). The discourse of sustainable development since the 1980’s has almost completely co-opted the terminology of ecological sustainability and social justice, and positioned the environment as a ‘natural capital’, a resource to be traded and exploited, or ‘ecological services’, a filter or sink for industrial waste.
(see Sharon Beder, The Hidden Messages Within Sustainable Development, Social Alternatives, vol.13, no. 2, July 1994, pp. 8-12)
Ecology - concerned with interrelated systems in such a way that economic structures, social realities and natural systems are inseparable. Profoundly cultural in its conception as explored in Guattari's theory of 'Ecosophy' which requires societal, psychological and natural spheres to be combined in order to find meaningful contexts and hence admits critiques of existing cultural frameworks such as 'progress' or the separation of 'man' and 'nature'.
ResilienceIn developments intended to sustain the accelerating consumption of finite resources, globalized industrial consumer culture has entered a late phase of energy intensity, hypercomplexity and interconnectedness. These factors delay but worsen the problems they seek to avoid. Against this paradigm, moves to prepare communities for sudden unpredictable change such as crises in systems of finance or governance, or breakdowns in the supply of food and water, are associated with the idea of building ‘Resilience’.