Webinar Series

1st Go-JuST webinar

28 March 202416.00-17.00 CET
Webex link: https://uoa.webex.com/uoa/j.php?MTID=m005f9a9a237e6358652670977623a9cb

Complex political problems: Why Science can’t speak with One Voice

Silvio Funtowicz

Centre for the Study of the Sciences & the Humanities (SVT)
University of Bergen (UiB), Norway


The effort to provide advice for the Covid-19 pandemics has shown that there is no privileged relevant expertise or techno-scientific silver bullet. Covid-19 has taught us that Science does not speak with one and undisputed voice. It also showed that the range of disciplines that were consulted was mostly limited to a biomedical elite, along with modelers and economists. It thus revealed that the framing of policy issues is still anchored on the Modern State model of legitimation in which complexity is ignored, and facts are treated as independent of values and of what is at stake. Post-Normal Science (PNS) emerged as a problem-solving strategy that is appropriate when facts are uncertain, values are in conflict, stakes high and decisions urgent. Under those conditions the ideal of Truth gives way to Quality. In PNS, quality is understood as fitness for purpose. It is operationalized through a dialogue between the experts and the extended peer communities. We have still to learn that useful knowledge does not speak only in the language of science. It requires instead a transdisciplinary effort where a plurality of styles of personal ‘knowing-how’ from experience complement the disciplined ‘knowing-that’ from textbooks.

The Covid pandemic is part of several challenges facing humanity today, such as the collapse of ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity and, in general, sustainability transitions. These all share the PNS conditions in the context of persistent extreme inequalities, weak democratic institutions, growing authoritarian temptations, and fantasies of techno-scientific silver bullets. To give effective support to decision-making and political action, Science must not continue to pursue the unattainable goals of precise prediction and total control but should rather participate in a collective effort for the creation of just, responsible and anticipatory knowledge.

Keywords: post-normal science, complexity, quality, extended peer communities

2nd Go-JuST webinar

Thursday 25 April 2024 16.00 CET (17.00 EET)

Webex link: https://uoa.webex.com/uoa/j.php?MTID=m9c39349b0ee5dbc0b8de13ce176fa3a7

From pleasure to morality. The political taste of Slow Food

Valeria Siniscalchi

Directrice d’études de l’EHESS
CeRCLEs – Campus EHESS Marseille


Through taste, one of the key concepts of Slow Food, I will reflect on the inclusion / exclusion process and power dynamics inside the SF movement. My case study is based on long-term fieldwork inside SF’s international headquarters in Italy, and in some of its political hubs, where I explored the intimate workings of the movement. I will approach the particular space created by taste and practices of tasting in order to analyze the political use of taste by Slow Food and the changes that have shaped this use over the years. In today’s Slow Food world, taste seems to be increasingly subjected to a moral characterization: “good” food is also “morally” good because it is produced with respect for the environment and animals. Thus taste is revealed as a double-edged tool that can be used to include or exclude at the same time, making visible the tension between inclusion and exclusion always present in SF practices and values.

Valeria Siniscalchi is Full professor (Directrice d’études) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre de recherche sur les circulations, les liens et les échanges (CeRCLEs, Marseille, France). Her work focuses on economic anthropology, food activism, and the relationship between food, social movements and politics. She is co-editor of Food Activism: Agency, Democracy and Economy (2014 with C. Counihan) and Food Values in Europe (2019, with Krista Harper). Her ethnography on Slow Food has been published by Bloomsbury, Slow Food. The Economy and Politics of a Global Movement (2023).


3rd Go-JuST webinar

Thursday 23 May 2024 16.00 CEST (17.00 EEST)

Webex link: https://uoa.webex.com/uoa/j.php?MTID=m3f21799648e906ab753be1e34217e197

Lifeworld, Landscape and Law: From Territoriality to Rights in Knowledge

Graham Dutfield

Professor of International Governance
School of Law, University of Leeds


Safeguarding knowledge is of utmost importance to Indigenous peoples. Wider appreciation of this is reflected in current efforts to adopt an
international treaty on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Intellectual property law almost exclusively forms the framing of the discussion on whether and how such knowledge should be extended legal protection. This presentation argues that this framing, given its timing, was probably unavoidable. However, what Indigenous peoples want most is territorial recognition plus control over that which emanates from
that territory, both tangible and intangible. When offered as the only solution, intellectual property rights fall far short, useful as they can
be for certain commercial endeavours.

Ethnobiologists and anthropologists, including those in the forefront of the campaigns for Indigenous peoples’ rights, did much to show us that
certain worldviews and dualities we assume to be real and common sensical, and upon which our laws are steeped, do not reflect reality for many Indigenous peoples. I refer to naturalism, and to the nature v. culture and humans v. rest-of-life divides. From a historical perspective, the
hegemony of the latter suggests that Indigenous peoples since the beginnings of European imperialism have been subjected to little short of
what I refer to – provocatively perhaps – as ontological totalitarianism.

This is so notwithstanding one’s personal adherence to naturalism and to those dualisms, or otherwise. In this presentation, I borrow ‘domesticated
landscape’ from ethnobiology, and ‘lifeworld’, a term that some anthropologists have borrowed from early 20th century philosopher Edmund
Husserl. In doing so, I seek as these scholars do, to open up legal and policy space for immateriality and to re-attach both culture to nature and
humans to the biosphere in pursuit of a world that serves natural justice and treats the global environment as it should.

Conferences/workshops Attendance

Διημερίδα Γεωργική και Κτηνοτροφική Ανάπτυξη Θεσσαλίας: Προβλήματα και προοπτικές

Στάθης Αραποστάθης, «Μία συστηματική των μεταβάσεων τεχνολογικών και
παραγωγικών συστημάτων στην αγροδιατροφή: Η περίπτωση της Θεσσαλίας»,
Διημερίδα Γεωργική και Κτηνοτροφική Ανάπτυξη Θεσσαλίας: Προβλήματα και
προοπτικές, 6-7 Απριλίου 2024, Περιφέρεια Θεσσαλίας, Λάρισα

10ο Πανελλήνιο Φεστιβάλ Ελαιολάδου & Επιτραπέζιας Ελιάς

Βάσω Καραντζάβελου, «Το ελαιόλαδο στην Ελλάδα από το 1990 μέχρι
σήμερα, νέες αξίες στο τελικό προϊόν», 10ο Πανελλήνιο Φεστιβάλ
Ελαιολάδου & Επιτραπέζιας Ελιάς, 20-21 Απριλίου 2024, Καλαμάτα

22nd Annual STS Conference Graz: Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies

Stathis Arapostathis and Vassiliki Karantzavelou
Assets, Commodities and Sustainability: Knowledge politics and the perils of assetization in food transition

In this paper we argue 1. That assetization of food products is an emerging approach in food policies in Greece since 1997; 2. Assetization has been emerged as part of the research politics in securing the entrepreneurial activities of research labs and the role of research communities and scientists in the making of the agrifood system; 3. Assetization is introduced as a way to redefine, reinvent agrifood products and in the same time to create new niche markets. Yet the emphasis in the making of niche innovation and relevant markets can result in concealing the quest of sustainability since sustainability is not a clearly stated matter of concern. By using recent approach from the STS scientific field and by focusing on the role of science in assetization processes we study the way research labs are transformed to knowledge infrastructures with aspirations for participating in the country’s development and the making of the agrifood transitions. In the paper we study cases from three different scientific labs and different agrifood products like the Ω3 fatty acid eggs and chickens and the olive oil with high concentration in polyphenols. The concept of “assetization” has been introduced by Birch and Muniesa (2020) in an attempt to identify the dynamic role of science in enhancing the value or even give value to products, processes and things. Science, and technology can attribute values where they did not exist before. Through the process of identifying the genetic profile of agrifood products they respond to pressures in relation to the identity and authenticity of the product. Furthermore, by identifying methodologies in boosting the antioxidant function of specific agrifood products and converting the in functional food. Processes of accetization are represented as ways of securing the fulfilment of the responsibility that research lab can have towards regional and national economy. The paper explores the way that knowledge politics shape new transition pathways in food production by partially medicalizing food, creating repertoires of regional development and industrial growth. The paper is based on research and extensive interviews with researchers and scientists from specific labs. Furthermore, we are using published materials, reports and articles while we are comparing activities and approaches of three different labs from the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly.