Room B, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 28th March 15:30 - 17:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Thomas Leahy (Cardiff University)
Panel Members: 
  • Awaiting details of this person
  • Dr Richard Erskine (The Schumacher Institute)
  • Dr Lucy Ford (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dr Jenneth Parker (Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems)
  • Mr Chandra Mouli Vemury (The Schumacher Institute)

The Future Shape of Politics: the contribution of interdisciplinary systems thinking in responding to complexity

This panel will reassert the importance of environmental politics as a back-grounded driver and component of political change. Ecological and climate crises are a key feature of the contemporary political scene and manifest in different ways in different contexts. At the level of considering the discipline, the panellists will take environmental concerns as an example of the complexity and interdependency that characterises contemporary problems. The contribution of systems approaches in helping us to find productive ways forward will be discussed across a variety of different fields. We will explore the potential of greater collaboration between political studies and systems approaches – including the potential for more harmonious and meaningful interdisciplinary work.

The panellists represent a mix of academic, NGO and professional experience and research.

Contributions will consider: 

The role of systems approaches in improving the framing of climate policy and campaigning (Richard Erskine, has done knowledge management strategy work for private and public organizations, such as UNEP, and the World Bank);

The potential role of psychology and psychoanalysis in strategies for building an effective climate and Earth system politics (Lucy Ford, Senior Lecturer in International Relations Oxford Brookes);

The importance and implications of religions as actors for ecology and justice (Chandra Vemury, Engineering and Sustainability, Eco-justice NGO activist);

The multiple ways in which systems thinking can assist in developing a more interdisciplinary politics, capable of dealing with complexity, and how this might change our research agendas (Dr Jenneth Parker, Research Director, Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems).

Rather than have a discussant the panel would like to encourage the maximum debate from those attending. Discussion themes will be facilitated by the organiser, Jenneth Parker. Discussion will focus on questions of questions of the potential research agendas that could be opened up by a more active engagement between the discipline of politics and systems approaches. The focus will be the future of politics in responding to complex issues crossing biophysical practices, cultural perceptions and identities, social justice and innovations in governance and policy.