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How to improve governance of a complex social-ecological problem? Dioxins in Baltic salmon and herringThis article focuses on the dioxin problem of Baltic herring and salmon fisheries and its governance that is based on natural scientific knowledge. The dioxin problem weakens the perceived quality of Baltic salmon and herring as food and affects the way the catches can be used. This influences negatively the fishing livelihood, the coastal culture, and the availability of the fish for consumers. We explored how the governance of the dioxin problem could be improved, to better address its socio-economic and cultural implications. We identified four main actions: (1) adopt environmental, economic and social sustainability, and food security and safety as shared principles between the environmental, food safety/public health, and fisheries policies, (2) establish collaboration between the environmental, public health, and fisheries sectors at the regional level, (3) enhance interaction around the dioxin problem within the fisheries sector, and (4) support the participation of the Baltic fisheries stakeholders in the EU-level food safety governance. Viewing dioxins in fish not only as a natural scientific problem but as a multidimensional one would enable a wider toolbox of governing instruments to be developed to better address the different dimensions. This would support steps towards collaborative governance and a food system approach.
Global histories and cosmopolitan ethics : H. G. Wells ; Charles Morazé and Georges-Henri Dumont ; Leften Stavrianos ; Sebastian Conrad ; Kwame Anthony Appiah ; Martha Nussbaum ; Onora O'NeillThis chapter is on the fences, boundaries and structures that lurk in and complicate the ethical globalism or cosmopolitanism of a range of global and human histories from the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries by writers and the UNESCO history of mankind team led by Charles Moraze and Georges-Henri Dumont. This means that few people have thought through the conceptual and practical implications of exiting this idea in realising cosmopolitanism. Global history should include an overview of the entire history of humanity from a consistent global viewpoint. Global histories are expressions of a desire to exit the forms of training, expression, periodisation, scaling and so on that marked the histories made in a conflict-ridden, unequal and local-looking world. Supporters of cosmopolitan ethics commonly argue for the removal or opening up of structures and boundaries in the service of the creation of a just, fair and peaceful world, but few endorse or manage their removal altogether.
Recast(e)ing identity : transformations from belowChapter 9 discusses transformations in inter-caste relationships in local society from the 1990s onwards. Caste in today’s rural Orissa is at the crossroads of formal rejection in the politico-economic sphere and reformulated continuity in the socio-cultural sphere. Caste is spurned in the official discursive sphere due to the ideals of ‘civil society’. The discourse of freedom, equality and democracy is indeed prevalent and influential even in rural Orissa. The reservation policy represents the paradoxical concern of a state committed to the ideal of equality which denies the value of caste but, which, in implementing affirmative action, also admits to its continued existence. In the economic sphere, market principles have largely replaced customary inter-caste exchanges as a result of the initiatives taken by the ‘service castes’, where prices for the work were negotiated and in some cases replaced by piecework business transactions. Although caste associations have played a vital role in such negotiations, they are now largely defunct due to increasing heterogenisation within castes. On the other hand, there are negotiations from below to redefine and recast caste identity in the pursuit of interests and dignity. This chapter takes up several instances where we witness contestations between the hegemonic caste structure, based on status and power, and its critique and resistance from below, based on the principle of ontological equality. Lower castes not only negotiated with the dominant castes to dispose of patron–client relationships, introducing market principles in economic transactions. They also tried to reformulate the contents of their caste roles to enhance the dignity of their caste identity. For example, cowherds refused to carry palanquins at the marriages of the dominant castes as they deemed this work degraded, while they agree to continue carrying the palanquins of the gods in rituals as their honourable duty. Also, sweepers are reluctant to do the cleaning of the village, while they take pride in acting as the drum-beaters for the goddess in the community ritual. Here we see an attempt at the reformulation of the form and semantics of caste from below. It shows people’s agency and efforts to mediate their sense of ontological identity with a new sense of community. Here the notions of sacrifice, service and duty mediate role between the ontology of caste and the idea of democratic community.
Well-being : happiness, desires, goods, and needsThis chapter acquaints the reader with the diverse conceptualizations of well-being and human needs theory in development. The first section covers the origins of well-being as a concept in development. The second section presents the central theoretical approaches to well-being, the most central classifications and new trends in conceptualization. The third section examines the human needs discourse and shows why and how an account of human needs can be interpreted as an approach to well-being. The conclusion presents three issues that should be researched further in development ethics: securing well-being over time, the social dimensions of well-being, and the interconnectedness of elements of well-being.
Insights from an assemblage perspective for a (better) understanding of energy transitions : facing the challenge of sustainability in Lebanon’s energy crisisThe energy sector in Lebanon faces many challenges: an ailing infrastructure dependent on fuel oil, a weakened electricity network damaged by violent conflicts over the years and an increasing demand for its services due to population growth, immigration and rising living standards. To fill the gap between this demand and the inadequate supply of electricity services, an informal system of provision based on polluting diesel generators has emerged. The resulting situation exacerbates the economic burden on households in Lebanon and leads to environmental and energy injustices, whilst holding back prosperity for the country. By examining the myriad assemblages of electricity access, the case of Lebanon illustrates how the concept of assemblage, as a theoretical lens, can help advance thinking on energy and sustainability transitions for cities of the global South by paying close attention to the informal system of energy provision that has emerged over the years. This contribution argues that for an energy transition to be realisable in the current climate urgency, an inclusive approach that seeks collaboration among multiple actors is necessary. The rootedness and localised nature of many informal providers can be an asset to a decentralised energy system that can integrate green and renewable energy sources.