Section outline

    • In this part of the course, the focus shifts to human systems. 

      Also in human systems, when considering phenomena and entities in a systemic way, a general guideline is that it is important to identify the parts of the system and the relationships between them, which are specific to the system in question. These interacting parts and their interrelationships have properties that the parts of the system do not have on their own.

      Human systems are therefore systems in the same way as other systems considered so far. However, a new complexity in human systems is created by the fact that the parts of the system - the people - consider their own state in relation to the system. Over time, systems have developed different norms that always precede and condition human action: we know that positive things happen when we conform to the norm and negative things happen when we break the norm. So norms create regularity in human systems, but unlike, say, the entities we study in physics, we humans always have a choice between options.

      This relationship between system (or structures) and action has always puzzled social scientists, and so this part of the course will begin by looking at the fundamental dynamics of social systems, based on people's beliefs and the norms of the system.

      It then looks at perhaps the two most central human systems for planetary well-being - energy and food systems. We have already looked at the historical evolution of energy systems and energy production methods in the ‘Introduction to Planetary Well-being’ course, so this time we will focus on observations about system dynamics: what causes system persistence, and what role does energy policy play?

      We then look at the food system. We will provide a general overview of the different food systems and the forces that have historically been central to the development of the global food system. And what are the problems with the global food system?

      In the fourth part, we will consider the intertwining of ecological and social systems through one of the concepts that has become prevalent over the last decade, the socio-ecological system. We also consider the issues that the classical perspective, which distinguishes three dimensions of power, opens up for socio-ecological systems.

      In the final section, we will see what guidelines Donella Meadows provides for 'living in a world of systems'. The course will end with a discussion on what new questions and perhaps possible solutions the course has raised in relation to a phenomenon that you find interesting.

    • Test your competence 4.

      Finally, after studying this fourth section you can test your competence with the exam. The exam is below. 

      Take the exam in order to pass the fourth section of the course. The statements in the exam are either true or false. Which one is the right answer? 

      Just answer the questions, and after you have finished your exam and completed it you will get your test result. You need 8 out of 12 questions to be right to pass the exam. You will get the results and feedback right after finishing the exam. 

      You will be able to try again until you pass the exam.

    • Test your competence 4. Tentti
      Saatavilla vasta, kun: Aktiviteetti Test your competence 3. on valmis ja suoritus hyväksytty
    • Discussion task

    • Discussion task (COMPULSORY) Keskustelualue

      During the course, you will hopefully have learned something new and now have a better understanding of the world's systemic nature. 

      At the end of the course, we will ask you to tell us about an issue or phenomenon that has come to your mind during the course, where systems thinking has brought new understanding or meaning - or perhaps just opened up more questions. You can also tell us about a problematic phenomenon that could perhaps be solved by a better understanding of the system. The definition of the task is therefore quite free, and is intended to highlight the different ways in which systems thinking can be applied.

      You can also contribute to the discussion by commenting on at least one other post or thread. The purpose of commenting is to increase interaction and improve learning. Please remember to keep your comments factual and constructive.

      This task is automatically marked as completed when you have started one discussion and participated in at least one other discussion.

      Saatavilla vasta, kun: Aktiviteetti Test your competence 4. on valmis ja suoritus hyväksytty