I have often been confronted by colleagues with the argument that social network analysis is only a method. Over time I became more annoyed with that point. Social network analysis goes beyond this. Yes, it is a method, but it is also a perspective, a framework, with which the world can be analyzed. To underline this point below are a couple of theories that can (or should) only be viewed from a relational perspective, hence social network perspective:
Social Exchange Theory
Initially, social exchange theory only dealt with the exchange of goods, services, or favors between two people. It can be summarize with „I scratch your bag, you scratch mine“. The flow of goods, services, or favors is normally reciprocal. Take any item you purchase: You get the good (e.g., freshly baked sour dough German bread with sunflower seeds) and the baker gets your money. But also when you grant…
First, there was the Geosphere, then the Biosphere and now the Noosphere.
This sequence is the time-line of evolution.
Initially, on Earth, chemical, geological, geochemical evolution emerged. The biological evolution followed. It leads to the progressive development of cell, body systems and body-mind systems. Offspring of the latter were mind-culture systems that formed societies. All these systems together are information processors and communicators. So far, a conceptual, general frame. However, what is the storyline behind this frame?
I am noticing that there seems to be a gentle stream of ‘retreatism’ in some modes of thought. The idea seems to be that the ‘crowd’ is bad, that social life is somehow corrupting and, that faced with the world situation, and the Anthropocene in particular we have to move into our own, somehow special individuation.
To me this is a partial truth, and needs expansion. It may also be true that in specific times of life, when aging, or facing immanent death, or in the midst of illness, this may be the best thing for some of us to do. I just don’t think it is a good strategy for a general approach to deal with ecological crisis or political instability. Because we recognise that humans affect the world, does not mean we can correct the effects by ‚going away‘. All life forms affect the world. At the moment…
When counted in Earth-seconds, our human history is a story of a few minutes or hours.
Counting Earth-seconds, living plants and animals populate the planet since some years, at best since two decades; first they lived in the sea and much later they lived on land as well.
Using the same folded time scale – folded by 31 million – the beginning of microbiological life on our planet dates back hundred to hundred-twenty years from today or up to four billion Earth-seconds ago. That is a century of Earth-years before more developed forms of life could emerge on planet Earth.
Sapere Aude, the century old call of European enlightenment still is out, listened to and on offer to be listened to. Nowadays, while we humans discovered our terraforming skills, recognized collaterals of our aeon-old activities, and are the main agency of this world, it is time to assume duty of stewardship in a world where dichotomy of ‚culture‘ and ’nature‘ is gone. It’s time to be the ‚first servant of our world‘. Ukko El’Hob
When ‚geoethics‘ (i) „consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system“, and (ii) „deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience education, research and practice, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities“ (quote from IAPG’s outline of „geoethics“)then ‚geoethics‘ is as much about citizens as it is about geoscientists, their various lifestyles and different professional conducts, respectively.
Geoscience know-how is firmly knotted into many day-to-day activities of modern societies and the design of contemporary production systems and consumption patterns.
Examples to illustrate this perspective of engineering a human niche are many, such as (i) Civil engineering is about building visible intersections of the geosphere and economic activities; e.g. dredging a waterway, building a bridge or constructing a hydropower plant; (ii) a less visible intersection is the design of production systems and consumption patterns, which couple human activity and the bio-geosphere through fluxes of matter and energy; (iii) urban dwellings may serve as a further example; they are a visible intersection with the bio-geosphere and on they are coupled with the bio-geosphere through massive fluxes of matter and energy; e.g. receiving drinking water and ejecting waste water, receiving electric power or fuels and ejecting heat, receiving food and ejecting manufactured goods that at the end of their life-cycle are discarded or recycled elsewhere on the globe; (iv) as more as technology evolved as more convoluted get the involvement of geosciences, such as renewable energy from the wind and solar, local weather forecast of thunderstorms, sea wave forecast for shipping, or global position systems shielded against solar storms.
Under this perspective, a perspective of an anthropocentric Anthropocene, i.e.; human niche for a global population of billion people, geoethics is a common good that needs citizen involvement.