How to properly conceive of, value, measure, sustain and improve on ‘life’ – in its myriad forms and at a range of scales – is becoming an increasingly profound concern in the 21st century.
In this age of computing and other significant technological advances, intensified measures of quantification are enabling us to identify and capitalise on new insights into countless dimensions of ‘life’ that had previously escaped our awareness and comprehension.
Wary of the implications of this, however, some argue for a need to move away from quantification entirely to refocus on the qualitative conditions under which ‘life’ – human and/or nonhuman – is best sustained.
Our conference aims to engage with this debate, asking what is at stake in contestations over appropriate standards for measuring and valuing ‘life’? How is ‘life’ variously categorized and defined in such different systems of measure? What are the oppositions, trade-offs, and potential complementarities between quantitative and qualitative assessments?
About the Centre for Space, Place and Society
The Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS) brings together researchers from three chair groups within Wageningen University (WUR) – Cultural Geography (GEO), Rural Sociology (RSO) and Sociology of Development Change (SDC) – and beyond to advance critical-constructive scholarship within the social sciences.
Our particular focus is on issues of socio-spatial and environmental justice. In investigating dynamics of spatial and social rootedness, connections, and circulations, with special attention to questions of inequality, exclusion, difference and plurality, CSPS seeks to translate knowledge into practical action in pursuit of a more just and equitable world.
Specific objectives of the CSPS include to:
- Produce high quality and internationally acclaimed conceptual and empirical research, drawing on innovative and transdisciplinary methods and perspectives.
- Support and encourage collaboration among critical scholars inside and outside of academia, through research, education and exchange activities.
- Contribute towards positively impacting society not only in terms of advancing knowledge but also ensuring that this knowledge can empower and be of practival and political use to social groups, as well as to draw attention to processes that marginalize and disenfranchise vulnerable people.
- Facilitate high quality knowledge transfer and collaboration through activities including publication, education, public presentation and outreach, workshops, and conferences.
Inspire and nurture budding social scientists and early career researchers, and in doing so contribute towards the development of a dynamic space in which critical social science is practiced, celebrated and supported.