Inaugural lecture by Professor Steffen Dalsgaard
How can an anthropology of digital technology contribute to our understanding of climate mitigating initiatives? Governments and private sector industries argue that climate mitigation must focus on ‘decoupling’ economic growth from carbon emissions if we are to reduce climate impact while still maintaining a healthy economy. Most proponents of decoupling envisage that digitalization will play a central role in this operation.
Critics, however, argue that IT has a large and often unacknowledged climate impact, and that IT solutions frequently have side-effects in the form of new and unforeseen problems – particular or systemic. The challenge of decoupling is thus broader than the management of the relationship between the economy and the climate. As much as decoupling is about how we imagine that the climate crisis can be solved with technologies, trusting that they can create the changes we need, it is also about the cultural value of lifestyles that we do not want to change.
Seeing the climate crisis from this perspective opens up for an anthropology of digital technology, which allows us to approach decoupling as a matter of how sociocultural change is imagined in the spaces between IT, climate change and capitalism.
The lecture will trace the formation of such a perspective and how the question of the value of greenhouse gas emissions has emerged both in my personal research trajectory and, more generally, in social scientific initiatives addressing the role of IT in society.
14.00 Welcome by Lene Pries-Heje, Head of Department, Business IT Department
14.10 Inaugural Lecture by Professor Steffen Dalsgaard
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