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Sökning: hsv:(SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP) hsv:(Annan samhällsvetenskap) hsv:(Tvärvetenskapliga studier) > Chalmers tekniska högskola

  • Resultat 1-10 av 177
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  • Ahlborg, Helene, 1980-, et al. (författare)
  • Ecology and sociotechnical systems research – motivations for theoretical and methodological integration across fields
  • 2017
  • Ingår i: International Sustainability Transitions conference 2017.
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Currently, we are witnessing a number of global trends that do not promise well for the future. Accelerating climate change, loss of biodiversity, chemical pollution, disappearance of natural forest and degradation of fishing grounds and agricultural lands are just a few of the serious environmental problems that threaten the functional and structural integrity of ecosystems, to an extent that also human societies risk collapse. The scale of human impact is now such that scholars suggest that we live in the Anthropocene. The trends are driven by several linked factors, which are not easily disentangled into manageable specific problems to be solved by specific policies. More than ever, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations are needed in order to address these urgent challenges. The objective of this paper is to argue for the importance of research on socio-technical-ecological systems (STES) rather than social-ecological (SES) and sociotechnical systems (STS) separately. Hence, we address researchers in both the social-ecological and sociotechnical fields. We organize the argument around six reasons why “technology” should be integrated into SES studies. We call these reasons: (1) the interface and mediation aspect, (2) ambivalence, (3) the agency aspect, (4) the question of scale, (5) the question of governance and politics, and (6) the question of epistemology and framing. We also highlight potential conceptual conflicts and mistranslations. Our discussion is primarily a theoretical argument, exemplified with empirical examples. Among the conceptual challenges, we note that SES scholars, if they consider technology in their analyses, generally treat it as an exogenous factor or as a passive background element. Similarly, STS scholars tend to neglect ecological dynamics and refer to the ecological domain mainly in terms of inputs and outputs, e.g. natural resources, environmental and health problems caused by human activities. In light of the discussion, we conclude that the importance of collaborating across the two fields goes beyond each field adding pieces together. We argue that integration and translation across these domains will lead to qualitative change in the theoretical and methodological approaches of both fields; and that technology, society and ecology should be given symmetric analytical attention.
  • Berlin, Cecilia, 1981-, et al. (författare)
  • Change Agent Infrastructure (CHAI) – a Stakeholder Analysis Tool for Ergonomics- and Work Environment- Related Change Projects
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics AHFE 2016, Walt Disney, Florida, USA 27-31 July 2016, Edited by T. Ahram, W. Karwowski, Springer Series on Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing.. - 2194-5357. - 978-3-319-42069-1
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This paper is a short communication introducing a novel method for stakeholder analysis, Change Agent Infrastructure (CHAI). The method is specifically developed in the context of ergonomics/work environment-related change projects and is meant for early stages of change projects. It maps potential stakeholders against eight distinct “roles” that have been found in previous research to facilitate or hinder workplace change. Mapping the “decision dilemmas” that stakeholders may face, as well as identifying over- or underrepresented roles, may benefit the change project in terms of determining information needs and how the project team should be staffed. The method has been iteratively developed and tested in educational and research projects. The method is visual, participative and helps to clarify the various participants’ understanding of the change at hand and what it means for them – this contributes positively to information strategies and decisions that facilitates the planning and execution of a sustainable change.
  • Ahlborg, Helene, 1980- (författare)
  • Towards a conceptualization of power in energy transitions
  • 2017
  • Ingår i: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. - 2210-4224. ; in press
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The field of sustainability transitions has recently benefitted from efforts by multiple scholars at better conceptualizing power and politics, and integrating insights from other fields. This article argues for an understanding of power as relational, productive, contingent and situated. I conceptualize power to the aim of understanding and explaining how and where power relations become de/stabilized in energy transitions in poor rural communities. An understanding of power as a relational capacity to act is integrated with a sociotechnical and relational understanding of constitutive power, which enables us to explore the co-production of social relations, technology and nature. The resulting conceptualization is applied to a case of mini-hydropower electrification in Tanzania. I find that electrification simultaneously reinforces social inequality and enhances social mobility. I identify material, symbolic and discursive domains that work as sources of de/stabilization of social hierarchies, producing effects on the system configuration and relations of class and gender.
  • Andersson, Johnn, 1983-, et al. (författare)
  • The critical role of informed political direction for advancing technology : The case of Swedish marine energy
  • 2017
  • Ingår i: Energy Policy. - Elsevier. - 1873-6777. ; 101, s. 52-64
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Marine energy technologies can contribute to meeting sustainability challenges, but they are still immature and dependent on public support. This paper employs the Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) framework to analyze the development and diffusion of Swedish marine energy up until 2014. While there were promising device developers, relevant industrial capabilities, and world-class research, the system suffered from weaknesses in several important innovation processes. Finally, the analysis identifies the lack of informed political direction as a critical blocking factor and highlights its connection to domestic market potential.
  • Berlin, Cecilia, 1981-, et al. (författare)
  • Prerequisites and Conditions for Socially Sustainable Manufacturing in Europe’s Future Factories – results overview from the SO SMART Project
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics AHFE 2016, Walt Disney, Florida, USA 27-31 July 2016, Edited by T. Ahram, W. Karwowski, Springer Series on Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing.. - 2194-5357. - 978-3-319-41696-0 ; 490, s. 319-330
  • Konferensbidrag (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This paper provides an overview of the EU project SO SMART (Socially Sustainable Manufacturing for the Factories of the Future), a coordinated support action (CSA) project. SO SMART examined the conditions in Europe for creating socially sustainable workplaces in the manufacturing sector, where factories flourish along with their social environment. The project was international (with partners from five countries), multidisciplinary and participatory, involving participation of several science domain experts and a wider community of academic and industry beneficiaries who participated in panels, workshops, conference events and an online forum created specifically for the project.
  • Byggeth, Sophie (författare)
  • Integration of Sustainability Aspects in Product Development
  • 2001
  • Licentiatavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Integration of sustainability aspects into the product development process has been difficult to achieve, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The main reason is that existing tools are experienced to be too detailed and as a result too demanding in terms of time and resources. This Licentiate Thesis presents a method for sustainable product development (MSPD). The method is intended to be a complement to existing overarching sustainability management tools and detailed quantitative product analysis tools. The objectives of the MSPD are: (i) identification of potential problems of present or planned products caused by substances and activities during the product life cycle that are critical with regard to principles for sustainability; (ii) guidance in finding solutions to the potential problems by modifications of present or planned products, and (iii) promotion of new products and business ideas based on sustainability aspects. A method suitable for most enterprises, irrespective of product type or background knowledge, has been sought. The MSPD includes: (1) a management tool which supports the user with information about, and instructions for applying, the method; (2) a flexible model for an integrated product development process, including checklist questions concerning traditional aspects of product development; (3) a modular system of guiding questions concerning aspects of sustainability, and (4) a prioritisation matrix for evaluation and choice of proposals in each product development phase. A MSPD prototype has been developed and tested in six small and medium- sized enterprises to study the usability of the basic structure of the method, and to obtain ideas for improvements and further development.
  • Hellsmark, Hans, et al. (författare)
  • The Role of Pilot and Demonstration Plants in Technology Development and Innovation Policy
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Research Policy. - 0048-7333. ; 45:9, s. 1743-1761
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Pilot- and demonstration plants (PDPs) represent bridges between generating basic knowledge and technological breakthroughs on the one hand, and industrial applications and commercial adoption on the other. This paper reports on a longitudinal study of how two technological fields that received significant public funding evolved—biochemical conversion of biomass and thermal conversion of black liquor. In doing so, this study makes two contributions. First, it provides a framework for analyzing the roles of various types of PDPs in developing new technology. The framework highlights the learning processes taking place at and around these plants and how they contribute to reducing different types of risks. It also elaborates on the importance of actor networks and institutional preconditions, and how both network performance and institutions can be influenced through various strategies. Second, the article contributes with new insights into the challenges of innovation policy in a PDP context. A policy mix is often required because policy cannot be considered meaningfully at a single level of government and will therefore be influenced heavily by limited foresight and politics (both nationally and locally). Therefore, policy must address both the need for parallel and iterative public funding of R&D and different types of plants, as well as attempts to directly influence collaborative processes in actor networks.
  • Lindkvist, Mathias, 1979-, et al. (författare)
  • Complementing LCA with qualitative organisational study for improving waste management governance – illustrated by a comparative case on metal packaging
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Life Cycle Assessment and Other Assessment Tools for Waste Management and Resource Optimization, Cetraro, Calabria, Italy, 5-10 June 2016.
  • Konferensbidrag (refereegranskat)abstract
    • We here present a novel method that combines the life cycle approach with qualitative organisational study for environmentally effective waste management. While LCA is useful for producing a systems overview of the environmental performance, it does not provide further guidance on systems management since the actors and activities that uphold them are not systematically studied. The human dimension is particularly manifest in waste management where many types of actors (private, public, consumers, legislators, sector organisations) interact in complex ways. Our method, with which we study Product Chain Organisation (PCO), is designed to complement LCA. Descriptions and accounts of actors interacting and communicating in the product chain provide a basis for understanding how actions influence overall environmental performance. The method is thoroughly grounded in a socio-material approach well established in the social sciences and the humanities. The socio-material approach considers human organisation to be intimately entangled with material flows, machines, buildings, the environment, etc, and that they all influence each other. We illustrate our method through a comparative study of metal packaging flows in Sweden (SE) and the Netherlands (NL). We first created an overarching understanding of the organisation of different waste management options and their environmental performance. Several field research methods were employed (interviews, field visits, document studies). The empirical material was used to make descriptions of conditions and practices in the product chain in the respective countries. As both a result and a stepping-stone for further analysis and understanding, we produced an overview combining technical, environmental, and organisational aspects (simplified version in Figure 1). Next, we identified a number of situations where management has a significant influence on life cycle environmental performance, for example, where disagreement between public and private actors blocks change, and organisational sources to unreliable data and statistical methods. The study identified that data transparency is low for both countries, but for somewhat different reasons. Further study of organisational practices in the Swedish recycling system and data collection and statistical practices in the Dutch recycling system could be useful. This makes the statistics for SE and NL not readily comparable. mineral mining metal production packaging production: SE & NL: Producers and importers of packaged products have considerable freedom for how to reach EU and national recycling targets. Fees are included in product prices to cover costs of recycling systems. filling, distribution & use: SE: 7 kg/cap (2011). NL: 12 kg/cap (2011). metal packaging waste collection: SE: Source separation. Organised and carried out by several organisations, with different organisation for household and business waste, respectively. NL: Metal separation from municipal incineration ashes for household waste; source separation for business waste. Nedvang, which represents all Dutch producers and importers of packaged products, oversees and organises packaging waste collection and recycling. recycling and other waste mgt: Recycling rates for SE & NL are not readily comparable owing to different methods and data choices. SE: 75% reported to be recycled, but monitoring is incomplete. Discussions to recover metal from incineration ashes have stalled. NL: 91% reported to be recycled. Recycling statistics by Nedvang; estimation methods change over time. Conflict about fees being siphoned to cover budget deficits. Figure 1: Simplified findings for metal packaging waste management in Sweden and the Netherlands. Our case study illustrates how the method by not being limited to LCA study can be used to produce a realistic understanding of even complex systems, such as waste management. It produces accounts that enable the understanding needed for informed action as well as identifies socio-material sources to data uncertainties that hide behind the figures in official statistics and sustainability reports.
  • Lindkvist, Mathias, 1979-, et al. (författare)
  • The influence of organisational practices on environmental performance: A screening of the organising of nodes in product life cycles in six test cases
  • 2015
  • Rapport (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • In the here reported on project, we have screened relations between product life cycle environmental performance and organising traced from technical processes that are nodes by having central roles in these cycles. Thereby, we have aimed both to further an already introduced method for this type of study by introducing an approach that is quicker to use than the thorough design previously deployed and to test it on a broader range of empirical domains. The method used combines life cycle assessment (LCA) and organisational studies, which are coherently integrated with each other using particularly the socio-material approaches actor-network theory (ANT) and action nets. The screening approach was applied to six test cases that covered six different types of services and physical commodities, and for each of these six comparisons have been performed between the organising traced empirically from at least three different nodes and their product life cycles environmental performance. The cases have covered the products and nodes listed in table S.1, further on in this summary. The test case on properties management was based on existing publications on a thorough study using the combination of LCA and organisational studies, while the other five test cases were performed as screenings applying this combination approach for the first time. A large number of practices of this organising have been indicated potentially to considerably influence product life cycle environmental performance. These organisational practices have been indicated to vary considerably between different activities both regarding the practices themselves and regarding the discernibility of their relations to each other and of their influence on environmental performance. The approach used in the project necessarily has limitations due to its screening characteristic, but these can be seen as prerequisites both for identifying the large number of organisational practices with indicated large influence on environmental performance and for reaching the overarching indications made through the project. However, even if no direct quantitative environmental differences were possible and feasible to present, the screening has at least shown that the environmental performances of the studied product life cycles seemed considerably to depend on organisational practices through not straightforward interplays between organising, technology and materials and energy processes. These organisational practices include the examples presented in Table S.2, further on in this summary. Table S.2: Bowling: Ceasing of business or not, Lunch provision or not, Additional games and similar activities degrees; Bread: Supply transport distance, Bread thickness and baking, Overproduction; Bus travel on intercity routes: Eco-driving training and discussions degrees, Number of routes served by the ticket offices, Seats organisation differences on the buses; Cement: Production permits renewal procedure differences, Production permit expiration criteria differences, Organisational practices for handling technical problems at and operation of the plant differences; Properties management: Types of windows related to the handling of cultural heritage requirements, Water taps replacement related to renovation and emergencies, system knowledge and operation and maintenance differences, Insulation differences due to fire protection differences; Road management (operation and routine maintenance of roads): Renewal or not of procurement contracts, Centralisation of contractors activities, Fragmentation of procurement governance. Regarding overall usefulness of screening and thorough nodal LCA organisation studies, respectively, generally the screenings were found to be considerably useful but instead performing thorough studies was indicated to provide considerable additional usefulness although the level and type of this addition were generally found to be difficult to predict. In relation to this, the results have also been discussed regarding whether and if so how they may point towards more overarching ideas on considerable reductions of society’s environmental impacts. This has covered internally driven environmental work within the organising connected to and along product life cycles, substantial amounts of assistance in such work from external experts, and an approach to focus of with a global coverage letting the local activities where the environmentally impacting resource use and emissions occur be monetary targeted. The actual feasibility of each of these approaches, however, have been found to be more or less limited and a uniting requirement seem to be a considerable pressure from the public. Finally, even if such considerable undertakings are made the project here reported on suggests that the environmental effects of a considerable share of actions still may not be possible or feasible to foresee.
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