Examining the Theory and Practice of (Systemic) Transformation: Dimensions, Dynamics, and Challenges

Whether we are speaking about technology (Pfeiffer 2021; van de Poel 2003), ecology (Olsson et al. 2004), economics (Brynjolfsson & Hitt 2000) or politics (Erickson & Kuruvilla 1998; Jacobsson & Lauber 2006), the term ‘transformation’ is a central buzzword of the present moment. While this seems to be unproblematic in journalistic language or day-to-day conversation, it raises a series of questions in social science.

From our perspective the quality of systemic transformation is guided by a focus on three dimensions, i.e. by the argument that this transformation is 1) socially prepared, 2) technically enabled and 3) discursively negotiated and socially mastered. In general, transformation could be suitable as a searching and guiding concept in the current discussion within social science, which – however – needs to be situated in relation to terminology such as social change, modernization, disruption, evolution and revolution. For these reasons, the mini-conference addresses the question of the extent to which social, economic, political and technological processes have the character of a systemic transformation and what constitutes this transformation.

This mini-conference is part of the SASE Annual Meeting 2022 at Amsterdam University. Submissions are open to all scholars on the basis of an extended abstract. Contributions can be submitted until January 25, 2022. More information can be found here.

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