Ecologizing Economics: Reflexivity, Methods and Interdisciplinarity...

YSI Ecologizing Economics Workshop

June 28 2023


Faced with the ecological crisis and the interdisciplinary reflection it requires, where and how can economics position itself?


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Ecologizing Economics: Reflexivity, Methods and Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Anthropocene

In the context of a multidimensional ecological crisis, economic analysis is challenged to adapt its methods so that it can remain relevant to contemporary issues and preserve the important place it has gained in public decision-making. In particular, calls to strengthen the consideration of biogeophysical dynamics are becoming more and more pressing. The orientation of economics towards these issues is therefore an invitation for a certain number of economists to build interdisciplinary forms of research. Interdisciplinarity means, for a discipline, to detach itself from its own concepts and methods in order to assimilate the proposals formulated elsewhere in the scientific field, with a view to pooling knowledge. This overcoming of disciplinary boundaries can go as far as the principle of "consilience" formulated by the biologist E. O. Wilson: that the methods and hypotheses of a discipline, in order to be acceptable, must be coherent with the proven knowledge of other disciplines.
However, such coherence is far from obvious. Even within each discipline, distensions and controversies remain (economics as well as scientific ecology are good examples) which make knowledge precarious but which are also the condition for fruitful scientific research. A discipline, by not immediately agreeing with the corpus of a colleague, can also provide an external point of support for a critical interrogation, or simply provide original methods. With interdisciplinarity, it is also, potentially, different visions of science that confront each other. This raises the question: interdisciplinarity yes, but to what degree? Should communication, cooperation, or convergence be favored? Does the urgency of the situation call for an accelerated unification, or is the diversity of approaches indispensable for scientific progress? In other words: what ecology of sciences should we adopt in the age of the Anthropocene?
The aim of this workshop is to bring together young researchers to question the place of economics in the ecosystem of disciplines in the context of ecological emergency. Several questions arise, at two levels:

  • At the level of economics itself: By what aspects does economics itself provide a useful and singular point of view in the context of ecological crisis? What level of reflexivity should it adopt? What forms of negotiation are possible with other disciplines? To what extent should economics accept to adapt by modifying its concepts and methods?
  • at the level of interdisciplinarity: What practices of interdisciplinarity can we observe? With what success? How can we investigate these practices? How can we understand and account for the circulation of knowledge? And finally: on what common ground, on what foundation can we build in order to resolve the crisis?

In addition to these questions, there is also the crucial question of how to integrate knowledge from outside the scientific field. In the end, they all come down to this fundamental problem: to what extent should we abandon our specificities in order to accept external conceptions? In the face of the ecological emergency, should competition or cooperation be favored?
To help us in our reflection, we will have the pleasure to welcome prof. Michiru Nagatsu from the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, as senior researcher. Prof. Nagatsu is a specialist in the philosophy of economics and sustainability sciences, and will be able to enlighten our discussions with a more experienced eye. The workshop will be held on June 18th 2023, the day preceding the 6th International Conference “Economic Philosophy” - Economic Philosophy in the Age of the Anthropocene, Thursday 29th June - Saturday 1st July 2023 in Lille, France. The conference's registration fees will be free for the participants of the workshop.
We invite all young researchers who might be interested in presenting a contribution or simply taking part to the discussions to apply. For the former, a presentation of one page (max, without bibliography) is requested; for the latter, a brief motivation will be sufficient. All works dealing with one of these levels or questionings are welcome, whether they come from theory or practice, philosophy, sociology or the history of science: epistemological works, contemporary case studies, historical case studies, reflections on the transfer of models or concepts, etc.

Time & Date

Start: June 28 2023

End: June 28 2023


Sciences Po Lille

, Lille
Working groups
  • Sustainability
Project Organizers
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Hadrien Lantremange

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Camila Orozco Espinel

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Maëliss Gouchon

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Baptiste Parent

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Baptiste Parent

For questions, the Project Organizers.