Session 11

Disruption or Equilibrium ? An Ecosystemic Approach for the Problems of our Time
André Francisco Pilon
University of São Paulo, Brazil

Trying to solve isolated problems, without addressing the general phenomenon (which has the conditions to solve specific problems), is a conceptual error; instead of surrendering to specialisation and fragmentation, a “new global covenant” should emphasize social justice, physical, social and mental wellbeing, in view of the equilibrium between all dimensions of being-in-the-world.
To deal with the “general phenomenon”, public policies, research and teaching programmes should integrate four dimensions of being-in-the-world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical), as they combine, as donors and recipients, to elicit the events (deficits/assets), cope with consequences (desired/undesired) and contribute for change (potential outputs).
Analysis account for the pieces of the system, but synthesis respond to the interactions between its parts 1) intimate dimension (knowledge, values, feelings, beliefs, commitments); 2) interactive dimension (allegiances, solidarity, partnerships, leadership); 3) social dimension (cultures, public policies, citizenship, advocacy, mass-media); 4) biophysical dimension (vital needs, natural and built environment, territory, artefacts).
Instead of dealing with the “bubbles” (public policies segmented programmes, mass media headlines and reduced academic formats), the ecosystemic approach define the problems and deal with them deep inside the “boiling pot”, where they emerge, in terms of the boundaries, structures, techno-economic paradigms, support groups and rules of legitimation.
In the socio-cultural learning niches, heuristic-hermeneutic experiences generate awareness, interpretation and understanding beyond established stereotypes, from a thematic (“what”) and an epistemic point of view (“how”); it is a process of critical reflection on, and appraisal of, assumptions and claims, a commitment to evaluation and change of collective views.
It means questioning the paradigms of development, growth, power, wealth, work and freedom embedded into the current cultural, social, political and economical institutions, create new forms of individual and collective identities, produce more of the things that people need (food, shelter, education, security, health) and less of the costly things they do not.