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Approaches to value: SOCCAR start-up workshop

Aug 08-09, 2019


This first workshop organized by the SOCCAR project zoomed in on ‘approaches to value’ in the social sciences. Given that the objective of the SOCCAR project is to produce novel understandings of the social and cultural value of carbon emission data, questions of how value is defined and assessed come to the forefront of both analytical work and empirical scrutiny. For example, many people in the global north are aware of climate change and find it important to mitigate its consequences, yet they pursue high-emission lifestyles despite having access to multiple digital means for managing emission data. One way to approach this discrepancy is through contrasting for example economic and moral values (Graeber 2002; Miller 2008). Methodologically, one could approach this by querrying contemporary responses to climate change as a question of discussing priorities and justifications (cf. Boltanski and Thevenot 1991). In other words, how are different practices, technologies, solutions etc. ‘valued’ (and against what). How come some forms of action or behaviour preferred over others? How are ‘values’ built into sociotechnical designs of ‘climate-friendly’ or ‘carbon neutral’ technologies? Through these questions, and through discussions between the invited participants (a combination of high profile international scholars and ITU-based postdocs and PhD students), the workshop provided a solid foundation in different approaches to questions of what value ‘is’ and what valuation ‘does’ in the intersection of humans and technology that is generated by climate change mitigation.