2023 – Environmental change, risks and vulnerabilities

The second Social Sciences Winter School in Karachi, jointly organized by the Center for South Asian and Himalayan Studies in Paris (CESAH, CNRS-EHESS) and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), will be held in Karachi in December 2023. It will address issues at the interface of environmental change, societies at risk and social vulnerabilities with different thematic focus, scales of interpretation, theoretical questioning and methodological frameworks, and in interaction with various local and international stakeholders. The theme chosen for this second edition calls for an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues. Furthermore, the innovative character of the Winter School comes from the emphasis on the use of advanced methodological and technological tools proposed in each workshop.

The unprecedented flooding following the exceptional monsoon in 2022 led the members of the steering committee to focus this year on climate change and environmental issues through the prism of the human and social sciences, in one of the world’s lowest emitting countries, yet one of the most vulnerable to increasingly extreme weather events (heat, floods, pollution, etc.). The social and economic consequences have been particularly devastating. The floods in Pakistan are not an isolated case. This case-study will enable us to question a number of categories, both theoretical and political, used in academia concerned with the issue of risk in relation to climate change: societies at risk, the critique of modernity, applied social sciences, social and ecological vulnerabilities, power strategies, environmental public policies and the State, etc. The study of the social, economic and political forms of climate change is therefore a resolutely interdisciplinary field of research (both within and outside the social sciences), requiring contributions from geography, anthropology, sociology, architecture, urban planning and political science, as well as the physical and biological sciences and epidemiology.

We are interested this year in the diversity of methodological tools used in the social sciences, which are always at the heart of the Winter School training program, whether it be the excavation of new archives for environmental history projects, particularly in urban contexts, mapping and geotechnologies using new indicators to measure the impact of climate change on the organization of human societies, such as natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, human mobilities) and risk responses, the analysis of discourses and ideological corpuses determining and guiding public policies in the field of urban planning, and so on. Three methodological workshops are proposed, in line with the criteria we have always set ourselves: an international and multidisciplinary teams of trainers, a combination of experienced researchers and younger faculty member, and also gender parity. Advanced doctoral students are invited to present their work in these workshops. In addition to the theoretical and thematic introductory sessions, half a day is set aside for fieldwork activities and the implementation of methodological protocols.

The Winter School will be organized as follows:

  • [DAY 1] Training in plenary sessions at the beginning of the school: presentations will introduce various thematic and methodological aspects of research and field practices.
  • [DAY 2 to 5] Three methodological and multidisciplinary workshops lasting each four days will address these issues from various cross-cutting perspectives, and will discuss theoretical models, case studies, analytical tools, survey methods, data collection, etc.
  • [DAY 5] Knowledge-restitution and debate: participants of each workshop will work on a mock research project based on the four days of training and make their oral presentation before receiving their training certificate.

Students will choose one of the three workshops described below:

Thanks to all the sponsors and partners:

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