Civil Society and Sustainability Studies (CIVICSUS) focus on how academic knowledge can be useful for social movements for sustainability. The ASG brings together civil society actors and an interdisciplinary team of researchers and educators to explore this core question and its ramifications: How can a scientific understanding of sustainability challenges contribute to social movements for sustainability? The general aim of CIVICSUS ASG is to do enough preparatory and exploratory work to prepare the ground for a systematic treatment of the subject of the contribution of academic knowledge of environmental studies to the social movements and other initiatives of civil society for environmental sustainability.
The ASG includes the participation of regionally and internationally recognized social movement activists and representatives as well as academics from Lund University faculties of Social Science, Natural Science, Technology and Engineering, Communications Studies and Humanities, as well as from the currently faculty independent Center for Sustainability Studies. Over the course of eight months, the group will work to develop and clarify points of interest and potentially fruitful further research collaboration with the aim of developing a heuristic for how, when and what science can contribute to social movements engaged in the struggle for sustainable development.
ASG Structure and Content
The ASG is comprised of a coordinator and co-coordinator, a core group of researchers, scientific and civil society guest participants and other participants in public sessions. The group will meet for often public thematic plenary sessions at least once a month between September 2018 and May 2019, as well as hosting weekly sessions for exploration of mini-themes or for developing emerging project ideas. The ASG will also involve intensive research workshop(s) with accomplished social movement scholars and a series of thematic seminars with invited guest speakers. Many of the seminars and lectures will be open to, or explicitly intended for, LU student and staff and the wider public. Thematic plenary sessions will explore questions of, inter alia, the relevance of epistemology in connecting scientific knowledge, problematizing “stakeholder dialogue” and participation as strategies, and the significance of scale of sustainability challenges to social movement practice. The weekly additional sessions will involve mini-themes, for example a review and comparison of competing social movement theories, as well as provide space for participants to propose and organize new thematic sessions or invited guests. The coordinators will be present at every meeting. The ASG will also develop several in-depth case studies sourced from on-going research and activism of ASG participants.
Both the plenary and optional weekly seminars will generally take place on Wednesday’s, between 13:00 and 17:00. Group plenary sessions will take place the last Wednesday of every month, with all core group members expected to attend if possible. Optional weekly seminars will take place three times a month, and will be planned on an as needed basis.