CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0594.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: societal transformation; systems change; sustainability; societal cognition; climate change; biodiversity loss; active inference; cooperation; SAILS
Online: 27 August 2020 (07:48:57 CEST)
Climate change, biodiversity loss, and other social and environmental problems pose grave risks. Progress so far has been incremental and insufficient, and as a result scientists, global policy experts, and the general public increasingly conclude that bold change is required across all sectors of society. At least two kinds of bold change are conceivable: reform of existing societal systems (e.g., financial, economic, legal, and governance systems), including their institutions, policies, rules, and priorities; and transformation, understood as the de novo development of and migration to new, improved systems. This paper is the second in a series of three that together propose a novel science-driven research and development program aimed at societal transformation. Moreover, the series advances a conceptual framework and formal mechanics by which societal transformation might be approached. Two of the underlying hypotheses are that new societal systems can be developed in a science-driven process to be fit for purpose, and system fitness can be compared across designs. Societies are viewed as superorganisms, and systems are viewed as a societal cognitive architecture. The first paper in the series provides definitions, aims, hypotheses, and a worldview. This paper discusses motivations, the role of science in societal transformation, a theory of change, and fitness metrics. The proposed R&D program and theory of change are sound, viable, and affordable. The local-global-viral strategy invites the global science community to play a unique co-leadership role with local communities in the development, testing, and monitoring of new societal systems. Systems are implemented via a novel civic club model, where participation is voluntary. Clubs grow and replicate based on merit and aided by club networks, whose systems are also viewed as societal cognitive architectures. Benefits of the program and strategy are discussed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0329.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Applied Mathematics Keywords: societal booms model; time delay; Bayesian inference approach
Online: 29 July 2019 (04:41:57 CEST)
In this study, based on our previous study, we examined the mathematical properties, especially the stability of the equilibrium for our proposed mathematical model. By means of the results of the stability in this study, we also used actual data representing transient booms and resurgent booms, and conducted parameter estimation for our proposed model using Bayesian inference. In addition, we conducted a model fitting to five actual data. By this study, we reconfirmed that we can express the resurgences or minute vibrations of actual data by means of our proposed model.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0160.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: societal transformation; systems change; sustainability; complex systems; societal cognition; climate change; biodiversity loss; active inference; free energy principle; self-organized criticality; SAILS)
Online: 6 August 2020 (10:48:10 CEST)
Humanity faces serious social and environmental problems, including climate change and biodiversity loss. Risks are increasing and conditions deteriorating. Increasingly, scientists, global policy experts, and the general public conclude that incremental approaches are insufficient and transformative change is needed across all sectors of society. However, the meaning of transformation is still unsettled in the literature, as is the proper role of science in fostering it. This paper is the first in a three-part series that adds to the discussion by proposing a novel science-driven research-and-development program aimed at societal transformation. More than a proposal, it offers a perspective and conceptual framework from which societal transformation might be approached and understood. While acknowledging the necessity of reform to existing societal systems (e.g., governance, economic, and financial systems), the focus of the series is on transformation understood as systems change or systems migration—the de novo development of and migration to new societal systems. The series provides definitions, aims, reasoning, worldview, and a theory of change, and discusses fitness metrics and design principles for new systems. This first paper proposes a worldview built using ideas from evolutionary biology, complex systems science, cognitive sciences, and information theory that is intended to serve as the foundation for the R&D program.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0391.v2
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: sexual rights; physical disabilities; psychical disabilities; sexual minorities; societal attitudes
Online: 2 December 2021 (11:48:55 CET)
The aims of this study were: (1) to analyze the level of agreement of a sample of Italian people with the rights of people with physical and psychical disabilities (PwPHDs and PwPSYDs) to have satisfying sexuality, to marry, to adopt a child; (2) to inquire if PwPSYDs were subject to less recognition than PwPHDs; (3) to verify if socio-demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, education, occupation, geographical origin, relational status, sexual orientation, and religiosity, associated with being against these sexual and parenting rights (SPRs). An online anonymous questionnaire inquired the level of agreement or disagreement with statements regarding the SPRs of PwPHDs and PwPSYDs. 973 participants, aged 18 – 84 years (71.1% females) were considered for analyses; At least 7 out of 10 participants declared in favor of the SPRs of PwPHDs, while the SPRs of PwPSYDs were always subjected to higher underrecognition. Religiosity almost invariably associated to being against the SPRs of PwDs. Being male, of higher age and lower education also associated with lower recognition. A better identification of the less tolerant respondents and of the less recognized categories may allow for specific strategies for promoting the recognition of the SPRs for PwDs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0201.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: COVID-19; greenness; mental health; societal change; social isolation; psychological factors; resilience
Online: 5 March 2021 (21:37:50 CET)
International data suggests that exposure for nature is beneficial for mental health and well-being. The restrictions related to Covid-19 pandemic have created a setting that allows us to investigate the importance of greenness exposure on mental health during a period of increased isolation and worry. Based on 2060 responses from an online survey in the Stockholm County, Sweden, we investigated: 1) weather the Covid-19 pandemic changed peoples’ life-style and nature-related habits, and 2) if peoples’ mental health differed depending on their exposure to greenness. Neighbourhood greenness levels were quantified by using the average Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within 50m, 100m, 300m, and 500m buffers surrounding the participant’s place of residence. We found that the number of individuals that reported that they visited natural areas “often” was significantly higher during the pandemic than before the pandemic. Higher levels of greenness surrounding one’s location of residence were in general associated with higher mental health/wellbeing and vitality scores, and less symptoms of depression, anxiety, and perceived and cognitive stress, after adjustments for demographic variables and walkability. In conclusion, the results from the present study provided support to the suggestion that contact with nature may be important for mental health in extreme circumstances.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0053.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Scientific Productivity; Universities; Private Companies; USA; European Union; China; Innivation; Reseach; Societal
Online: 2 March 2021 (09:24:47 CET)
The purpose is to verify trends of scientific production from 2010 to 2020, considering the best universities of the United States, China, the European Union (EU) and private companies. The top 30 universities in 2020 in China, the EU, and the US and private companies were selected from the SCImago institutions ranking (SIR). The positions in 2020, 2015, 2010 in SIR and three sub-indicators were analyzed by means of non-parametric statistics, taking into consideration the effect of time and group on rankings. American and European Union universities have lost positions to Chinese universities and even more to private companies, which have improved. In 2020, private companies have surpassed all other groups considering Innovation as sub-indicator. The loss of leadership of European and partly American universities mainly concerns research linked to the production of patents. This can lead to future risks of monopoly that may elude public control and cause a possible loss of importance of research not linked to innovation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0176.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: affluence; business as usual; climate change; planetary boundaries; population; societal impact; sustainability
Online: 17 December 2018 (07:18:52 CET)
The IPAT equation provides a simple but powerful model for understanding sustainability, particularly from the challenge posed by the Anthropocene—how to reduce personal or societal impact. Impact is calculated by multiplying population, affluence and technology, and a ‘reduction coefficient’ e is used to explore targeted reductions in impact of different entities to cap total (summed) impact. The model offers two solutions. First, that all three factors are essential in determining total impact; a focus on just one or two is not justifiable without credibly addressing the other(s). Second, by presenting reduction of impact as a proportion of current activity, the solution becomes accessible to an individual actor (e.g., an individual, family, organization, or country). Application of the model is illustrated based on household weekly food consumption from cultures around the world. The model helps unify a) disparate perspectives on population, affluence and technology, which currently oppose one another from a basis of belief or dogma, and b) different sectors (e.g., food production, energy, climate impacts and others), as well as actors, so they can jointly identify strategies to resolve their contributions to approaching larger scale sustainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0355.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: Societal Challenges; mission-oriented; sustainability education; higher education institutions; partnership for the goals
Online: 29 January 2020 (12:10:02 CET)
Unlike other SDGs, the SDG4 about quality education is not a goal in itself, but rather a tool to achieve different goals. Universities in this respect play a crucial role in the short-term implementation of SDGs for education, including new approaches and contents. Current academic debates explore the best practices via deductive-theoretical or inductive-experiential methods, yet not always considering the geographical, and therefore cultural and infrastructural factors affecting the success and the failure of such practices. In this paper, we systematize the implementation of SDGs in Italian universities from 2016 to 2019. Eighteen experiences have been collected after a national call by the Italian Network of Sustainable Universities (RUS) aimed at mapping the current landscape of SDG related actions. Results have been analyzed according to two criteria: 1- the educational "container" where the SDGs implementation takes place (from random workshops to dedicated courses); 2- the different organizational scales (from the foundation of a new department to the campaigns by local green teams). With this paper, we do not propose a total refunding or "deus-ex-machina" solutions, disregarding the local factors and the local resources in Italian universities. On the contrary, we draw a map to propose the reuse of an existing structure with adjustments, retrofitting and renewal actions towards holistic and coordinated sustainability efforts. Results show that, within the Italian context, SDGs implementation is still primarily understood as a strategic element for branding and promoting the green image of the Athenaeum. Secondarily, it is seen whether as a separate discipline to be inserted into existing curricula and original teachings or as a conceptual tool for remedying specific societal challenges through random workshops or fieldworks. Conclusions highlight the value of this first Country-wide systematization of the Italian Higher Education Institutions toward SDGs implementation. This exercise avoids individual experiences remaining isolated and self-concluded, and, most importantly, provides comparability and transferability criteria to help similar cases. Further works envisage the recognition of same elements in the broader European traditions, as well as the enhancement of stimuli for a personal and societal transformation generated by the partnership of all those people and institutions engaged in the exciting yet urgent defy of today's societal challenges.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0079.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: Natural Social Contract; Co-evolutionary governance; Transformative governance; Institutional change; Policy mixes; Transformative Social-Ecological Innovation; Transformative Social Innovation; Social Innovation; Sustainability Transition; Societal Transition
Online: 7 February 2022 (11:43:04 CET)
The corona (COVID-19) pandemic offers an opportunity for dealing with persistent problems, through a transformative recovery process. It is a crisis that offers opportunities for dealing with three interrelated crises: the ecological crisis (climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion, pollution and ecosystem destruction), the confidence crisis (people losing trust in government, politics, companies, regular news channels, science, each other and the future), and the inequality crisis (the widening of the gap between rich and poor). Our argument is that sustainability transitions will not succeed without a different economy and another social contract with the associated rights and duties of care (for the environment and the well-being of others, including future generations). A different social contract is not only desirable from the point of view of sustainability and fairness, justice and equality, but is also necessary to restore citizens' trust in politics, government, companies and each other. In the paper we discuss mechanisms towards a Natural Social Contract, systemic leverage points for system transformations and possibilities for co-evolutionary governance by actor coalitions interested in transformative change. The combination of those three elements helps to synchronize different agendas and reduce the chance that they will work against each other.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202109.0523.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Political Science Keywords: Social Fröhlich condensate; Societal stability; Order preserving; Quantum-like modeling; High social temperature; Information field; Information reservoir; Bose-Einstein statistics; Planck formula; Information overload; Indistinguishability
Online: 30 September 2021 (15:12:19 CEST)
This paper aims to present the basic assumptions for creation of social Fröhlich condensate and attract attention of other researchers (both from physics and socio-political science) to the problem of modelling of stability and order preservation in highly energetic society coupled with social energy bath of high temperature. The model of social Fröhlich condensation and its analysis are based on the mathematical formalism of quantum thermodynamics and field theory (applied outside of physics). The presented quantum-like model provides the consistent operational model of such complex socio-political phenomenon as Fröhlich condensation. The model of social Fröhlich condensation is heavily based on theory of open quantum systems. Its consistent elaboration needs additional efforts. Evidence of such phenomenon as social Fröhlich condensation is demonstrated by stability of modern informationally open societies Approaching the state of Fröhlich condensation is the powerful source of social stability. Understanding its informational structure and origin may help to stabilize the modern society. Application of the quantum-like model of Frhlich condensation in social and political sciences is really the novel and original approach to mathematical modeling of social stability in society exposed to powerful information radiation from mass-media and internet based sources.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0144.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Keywords: energy infrastructure design; system architecture; energy transition; district heating systems (DHS); energy hubs; distributed multigeneration (DMG); multi-energy systems (MES); urban energy systems (UES); community energy; societal prospects
Online: 22 February 2018 (12:47:01 CET)
Energy conversion and distribution (heat and electricity) is characterized by long planning horizons, investment periods and depreciation times, and it is thus difficult to plan and tell the technology that optimally fits for decades. Uncertainties include future energy prices, applicable subsidies, regulation, and even the evolution of market designs. To achieve higher adaptability to arbitrary transition paths, a technical concept based on integrated energy systems is envisioned and described. The problem of intermediate steps of evolution is tackled by introducing a novel paradigm in urban infrastructure design.It builds on standardization, modularization and economies of scale for underlying conversion units. Building on conceptual arguments for such a platform, it is then argued how actors like (among others) municipalities and district heating system operators can use this as a practical starting point for a manageable and smooth transition towards more environmental friendly supply technologies, and to commit to their own pace of transition (bearable investment/risk). environmental friendly supply technologies. Merits are not only supported by technical arguments but also by strategical and societal prospects like technology neutrality and availability of real options.