Systemic transformations require attention to the procedures and processes through which system boundaries are determined and governed, and by whom. Transitions toward social, ecological, bio-physical, and market functioning, and social well-being, require both socio-technical and institutional innovation, new kinds of social interaction, and social spaces in which meaningful and purposeful relationships can develop. This workshop examines examples of these phenomena.
Particular attention is paid to how system boundaries are determined, and by whom, because what is taken into account is constitutive of the kinds of innovation that emerge, who benefits and who loses from the change process, and how the governance of such change processes is performed.
We understand :
In the light of the above we seek original contributions that critically examine:
Under points 1 & 2 authors are expected to apply systems thinking to relevant evidential, conceptual or theoretical issues (about one third of the paper). Point 3 allows for presentation, analysis and discussion of findings from (mini) case studies, action researching, and various forms of participatory research (about two thirds of the paper). Authors may address any level or scale of interaction.
The convenors will provide a short background paper. It presents evidence for i) how neo-liberal market thinking applied to agriculture and food futures draws system boundaries inappropriately, creating new forms of systemic risk; ii) the current focus on ‘transformative technologies’ and opportunity for a handful of dominant commercial enterprises ignores or under-values institutional dynamics that externalise (unsustainable) costs. These costs threaten bio-physical and ecological functioning and vulnerable social actors worldwide; iii) different boundary judgements open pathways towards alternative, less risky and robustly productive innovations. We note ongoing efforts in EU countries to bring forward transformational change. In the U.K., for instance, through the multi-stakeholder Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum(Twitter @WFNFEvents). France in 2014 introduced a new law, the Future of Agriculture,that requires all forms of agriculture to evolve agro-ecological farming technologies and practices, while sustaining France’s competitive position on world markets. This in turn is demanding new competencies and attitudes within INRA, the national agricultural research system. In the Netherlands, while the government and the leaders of Wageningen university are promoting business as usual the government has been challenged recently to meet its climate obligations (including in food and agriculture) by a judicial decision in a case launched by a charity (Urgenda). Instances from Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, West Africa and other countries are also noted.
The convenors will review all submitted Abstracts for their potential contribution to the workshop. The selected abstract authors will be invited to submit papers, following IFSA symposium guidelines and deadlines. All submitted papers will be sent for blind peer review, organised by the convenors. The authors will receive reviewers’ comments and the convenors’ final decision concerning which papers are accepted. The convenors will then organise the allocation of workshop session time and sequence of presentations.
The convenors will negotiate with Agricultural Systems for a special issue based on the selected papers/presentations.
Sessions will be facilitated and time-controlled to ensure that authors highlight only the key points necessary to stimulate discussion. The convenors will build a visual meta-narrative (storyboard) from the successive presentations. Authors may choose among the following options for their presentations:
Janice Jiggins (Professor/Guest Researcher,, Knowledge, Technology & Innovation group, Wageningen University, retired mid 2015). Corresponding address: De Dellen 4, 6673 MD, Andelst, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (0)488 451016
Niels Röling (Professor Emeritus, Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
n.roling@ inter.nl.netRay Ison (Professor of Systems, Open University, U.K; Head of Systemic Governance Research programme, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, Australia; and President, International Society for Systems Sciences, 2014-15)
Chris Blackmore (Senior Lecturer, Open University, U.K.