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Piotr Stankiewicz (red.)

Teachener edukit. Integrating Social Sciences and Humanities into Teaching about Energy

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Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika


The dominant view on science, until the middle of the 20th century, was that it is a neutral enterprise, that it is a selfless search for truths about the world, and that technology is simply an equally neutral application of its achievements. This was a view typical of the Enlightenment’s belief in technological progress. However, further development of science has shown that its relationship with values and society is far more complex than one might think at first glance. The beginnings of critical reflection on science and technology can be traced back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, for example to such thinkers as the Hungarian sociologist Karl Mannheim or the Polish microbiologist Ludwik Fleck, who pointed out that science is not only a cognitive undertaking, and technology is not a trouble-free application of its achievements. However, the critical reflection on the role of science and technology flourished in the second half of the 20th century, as a response to the growing interference of science in the social substance and the related controversies, i.e. multiple problems with nuclear energy or GMOs. The answer to the growing number of controversies was the emergence of a research area known as science and technology studies (STS) around the 1960s. It is an umbrella term, under which one could find many different fields of research e. g. the social construction of technology and history of technology, sociology of scientific knowledge and scientific institutions, or social understanding of science. There are also areas that are more loosely linked to the STS like sociology of environment, development studies, new social movements theory, ethics and philosophy which have brought forward many fruitful insights into different aspects of energy development (see e.g. Callon et al., 2009, Gross, Heinrichs, 2010 or the special issue of the journal Energy Research & Social Science “Energy Transitions in Europe” (vol 13/2016)). Despite the great diversity between these areas in terms of subject matter, methodology, research tools and concepts, their common denominator is that they perceive science and technology as deeply rooted in values and society.

Preface / 5
Teaching methods / 13

Energy awareness. Being aware of the importance of energy (for our life) / 22
Session 1: Introduction to energy awareness / 25
Session 2: Workshop and role play / 37

Philosophy and Ethics of Energy Development. What are the most general questions concerning our attitudes to energy technologies? / 52
Session 1: Natural sciences, technologies and modern societies / 56
Session 2: The conflict between industrial past and environmental values / 65
Session 3: Energy and ethics / 78

Energy and the public. How societies communicate and decide about energy issues? / 96
Session 1: Public opinion on energy issues in a nutshell / 99
Session 2: Energy governance in the EU and its stakeholders / 108
Session 3: Communication among stakeholders and their participation in the decision-making / 118

Social Impact of Energy Technologies. Assessing Social Impacts through Social Life Cycle Assessment / 139
Session 1: Introduction to SLCA / 142
Session 2: SLCA practical application / 162

Technology Assessment. An approach for organizing societal discourse on innovative energy technologies / 186
Session 1: History and functions of technology assessment / 189
Session 2: Dimensions of technology assessment / 204
Session 3: Actors and methods of technology assessment / 215

Smart metering. Social risk perception and risk governance / 242
Session 1: Smart grids and smart meters / 245
Session 2: Risk perception / 256
Session 3: Risk communication / 270
Session 4: Risk management / 280

Conflict Management. Understanding and managing conflicts about energy technologies / 298
Session 1: Why and how do we talk about technological controversies? / 301
Session 2: Role play panel discussion about a geothermal energy facility / 308
Session 3: Key questions for understanding conflicts and an introduction to conflict management approaches / 315

Decentralized energy systems. Social aspects of energy production and use / 337
Session 1: Innovative Technological Solutions in Energy Production and Distribution / 340
Session 2: Decentralized Energy Systems from Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) perspective / 349
Session 3: Scenario analysis: ‘Road map’ and ‘What if? / 360

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  • Piotr Stankiewicz

    Socjolog, pracownik naukowy Instytutu Socjologii Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu. Stypendysta Fundacji na rzecz Nauki Polskiej, Niemieckiej Centrali Wymiany Akademickiej DAAD oraz Ministra Edukacji Narodowej. Studiował lub przebywał na pobytach badawczych na uniwersytetach w Kolonii, Konstancji i Hamburgu. Zajmuje się problematyką zarządzania rozwojem technologicznym. Doktorat, obroniony w 2008 roku, poświęcił konfliktowi wokół genetycznie modyfikowanych organizmów w Polsce. Od tego czasu koncentruje swoje zainteresowania na zagadnieniach związanych z rozwojem energetyki oraz dialogiem publicznym na ten temat, zarówno jako badacz, jak i praktyk aktywnie działający w tym obszarze. Współpracował z instytucjami samorządowymi i centralnymi oraz organizacjami społecznymi przy prowadzeniu działań informacyjno-edukacyjnych dotyczących poszukiwania gazu łupkowego  oraz budowy elektrowni atomowej w Polsce.

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