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55407-01 - Seminar: Risk Society, Science and Nature 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2020
Angebotsmuster unregelmässig
Dozierende Rony Emmenegger (rony.emmenegger@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Recent debates about global environmental change have raised questions about the role of nuclear energy in a low-carbon future. A consideration of climate targets in terms of CO2 emissions thereby opens space for dreaming about the revival of nuclear technologies – see for instance “Bill Gates goes nuclear” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HijJH67uw_Y). Rather than simply buying into socio-technical imaginaries of a carbon neutral but nuclear future, however, a sustainability perspective suggests a much wider consideration of nuclear energy and nuclear waste in terms of risk, uncertainty and ethics.
This seminar uses issues around nuclear energy and nuclear waste in Switzerland and beyond as an empirical entry point into an analytical discussion about risk and uncertainty in a modern “risk society” (Beck 1986). The operation and failure of nuclear technologies, infrastructures and imaginaries thereby provides manifold examples for a conceptually-inspired analysis of risk calculation and perception; risk maps and landscapes, risk communication and governance, risk technology and safety culture, risk ethics and sustainability. On this basis, this seminar lays an empirical and conceptual basis for a critical evaluation of nuclear risks and safety in modern societies and for a reflection about their sustainable futures.
This seminar is supported by "IMPULS - Facility Service Learning for Sustainability". IMPULS supports lecturers and students to implement projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of courses (see www.unibas.ch/impuls). What constitutes a "sustainable future" can be an object of contestations, and it is so particularly in regard to the role and significance of nuclear energy and waste in modern risk societies. A sustainable transformation consequently requires a political debate (see Patterson et al. 2017 on the "Politics of Transformation towards Sustainability") about the questions "what needs to be sustained? how? and why?". Integral to such a debate is also an engagement with issues related to risk and uncertainty that are inherent to modern developments and technological innovations. This seminar lunches such a debate both in the class room and beyond. In line with the scientific training of the MSD program, students will engage with debates about risk and uncertainty through the analysis of divers nuclear waste/energy-related case – to be scientifically analyzed in individual student essays. In parallel, students will exchange at the science-society interface in order to make scientific reflections accessible to a wider public, what requires adjustments both in content and form. The result of this exchange is planned to be released as a booklet at the Sustainability Week in March 2021. Advancing a public debate along these lines is of particularly significance in light of the ongoing search for a deep geological repository for nuclear waste and the beginning decommissioning of nuclear power plants in Switzerland. The democratic decision for the nuclear phase out in Switzerland marks a key step towards a more sustainable future, but issues related to nuclear risk and uncertainty will continue to remain of relevance for this and the coming generations.
Lernziele Student are
- familiar with risk-related concepts and debates in social science and environmental humanities;
- able to make use of risk-related concepts for the analysis of issues around nuclear energy and nuclear waste;
- able to critically evaluate the role and significance of nuclear technologies, infrastructures and imaginaries in a risk society;
- able to reflect on the meaning of sustainability in a modern risk society.
Literatur Tba in class.
Bemerkungen Note: Special course inscription and entry requirements!
Application not possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

Within the MSD credit points may be transferred to the module "Focal Areas in Sustainability Research" (learning agreement) (all students). Students with focus area in social sciences may accredit the course within the published module.

This seminar is offered by the MSD. Dr. Rony Emmenegger is a staff member of the Sustainability Research Group, Dep. of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Teilnahmebedingungen Special course application required for ALL (for details see 'course application' or 'Anmeldung').
Application not possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

Limited number of participants (25). Students of the MSD, MSD preparation semester or IJDSD have a first priority; those of the mentioned fields of study (see list of modules) have a second priority.

If you study something different you must do at least a master's degree within the Department of Social Sciences (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and may attend the seminar in case of vacancies.

Non-MSD students must have passed sucessfully the lecture "11513-01: Sustainability: A new Societal Paradigm?" or "41829: Social Science Perspectives on Sustainability" during a former semester.

Students of the MSD who have chosen the focus area in natural sciences or in economics must have completed the 'Complementary Knowledge in Social Sciences' module (or at least earned 8 CP).
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung Application not possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

Login and application possible from 19.08.20/noon on. Login button on top row right hand side of ADAM website. First emails with confirmation of participation will be sent out at the end of week 36.
In case of vacancies the online application link remains open until the end of the second week of teaching.
Application not possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

NOTE: Be aware of special entry requirements. Course inscription via MOnA remains mandatory for all participants.
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum

Keine Einzeltermine verfügbar, bitte informieren Sie sich direkt bei den Dozierenden.

Module Modul: Kernbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften (Masterstudium: Sustainable Development)
Modul: Resources and Sustainability (Master Studiengang: Changing Societies: Migration – Conflicts – Resources )
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Regular attendance, required readings, oral presentation, essay.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anm.: Belegen Lehrveranstaltung; Abm.: stornieren
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala 1-6 0,1
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Universität Basel
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Nachhaltigkeitsforschung