- Sep 2023
Since arriving at the school, I have said to each class that I am too old to change journalism. Instead, I would watch and try to help students take on that responsibility.
- Aug 2023
While the proximate mechanisms of these anthropogenic changes are well studied (e.g., climate change, biodiversity loss, population growth), the evolutionary causality of these anthropogenic changes have been largely ignored.
- for: climate change - evolutionary causes, cultural evolution - unsustainability, unsustainability
- definition: Anthroecological theory (AET)
- This theory proposes that the ultimate cause of anthropogenic environmental change is multi-level selection for niche construction and ecosystem engineering
- Jan 2022
- Oct 2021
White finds reason for optimism: the end of protest inaugurates a new era of social change.
Beginning, Middle, End
Micah White wrote of the end: The End of Protest.
Micah White is the award-winning activist who co-created Occupy Wall Street, a global social movement, while an editor of Adbusters magazine.
Occupy Wall Street was a constructive failure but not a total failure. Occupy demonstrated the efficacy of using social memes to quickly spread a movement, shifted the political debate on the fair distribution of wealth, trained a new generation of activists who went on to be the base for movements ranging from campus fossil fuel divestment to Black Lives Matter protests. Occupy launched many local projects that will have lasting small-scale impact. Occupy buoyed many institutional activist organizations that were able to materially profit from the renewed interest in protest. All of these are signs that our movement was culturally influential. It may be comforting to believe that Occupy splintered into a thousand shards of light. However, an honest assessment reveals that Occupy Wall Street failed to live up to its revolutionary potential: we did not bring an end to the influence of money on democracy, overthrow the corporatocracy of the 1 percent or solve income inequality. If our movement did achieve successes, they were not the ones we’d intended. When victory eluded Occupy, a world of activist certainties fell apart.
I call Occupy Wall Street a constructive failure because the movement revealed underlying flaws in dominant, and still prevalent, theories of how to achieve social change through collective action. Occupy set out to “get money out of politics,” and we succeeded in catalyzing a global social movement that tested all of our hypotheses. The failure of our efforts reveals a truth that will hasten the next successful revolution: the assumptions underlying contemporary protest are false. Change won’t happen through the old models of activism. Western democracies will not be swayed by public spectacles and mast frenzy. Protests have become an accepted, and therefore ignored, by-product of politics-as-usual. Western governments are not susceptible to international pressure to heed the protests of their citizens. Occupy’s failure was constructive because it demonstrated the limitations of contemporary ideas of Protest. I capitalize p to emphasize that the limitation was not in a particular tactic but ratter in our concept of Protest, or our theory of social change, which determined the overall script. Occupy revealed that activists need to revolutionize their approach to revolution.
Failure can be liberating. Defeat detaches us from a theory of revolution that is no longer effective, reopening the possibility of true change. “For a revolutionary,” writes Régis Debray, professor of philosophy and associate of Che Guevara, “failure is a springboard. As a course of theory it is richer than victory: it accumulates experience and knowledge.”
A Theory of Change
How did we get here?
Yesterday (October 26, 2021), I picked up David Graeber’s book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, written with David Wengrow, at Coles in Abbotsford.
It is interesting to note that David Graeber was interested in the origins, the beginnings.
Renowned for his biting and incisive writing about bureaucracy, politics and capitalism, Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement and professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time of his death.
- Jan 2021
Grossmann, I., Twardus, O., Varnum, M. E. W., Jayawickreme, E., & McLevey, J. (2021). Societal Change and Wisdom: Insights from the World after Covid Project. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/yma8f
- Jun 2020
Long read: Cultural evolution, Covid-19, and preparing for what’s next. (2020, April 22). LSE Business Review. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2020/04/22/long-read-cultural-evolution-covid-19-and-preparing-for-whats-next/
- climate change
- behavioral change
- decision making
- collective behavior
- behavioral science
- cultural evolution
- causal understanding
- Nov 2018
As with other forms of value-based health care, patient-centered care requires a shift in the way provider practices and health systems are designed, managed, and reimbursed. In keeping with the tenets of patient-centeredness, this shift neither happens in a vacuum, it driven by traditional hierarchies in which providers or clinicians are the lone authority. Everyone, from the parking valet and environmental services staff to c-suite members, are engaged in the process, which impacts hiring, training, leadership style, and organizational culture. Patient-centered care also represents a shift in the traditional roles of patients and their families from one of passive “order taker” to one of active “team member.” One of the country’s leading proponents of patient-centered care, Dr. James Rickert, has stated that one of the basic tenets of patient-centered care is that “patients know best how well their health providers are meeting their needs.” To that end, many providers are implementing patient satisfaction surveys, patient and family advisory councils, and focus groups, and using the resulting information to continuously improve the way health care facilities and provider practices are designed, managed, and maintained from both a physical and operational perspective so they become centered more on the individual person than on a checklist of services provided. As the popularity of patient- and family-centered health care increases, it is expected that patients will become more engaged and satisfied with the delivery of their care, and evidence of its clinical efficacy should continue to mount.
Cultural shift to patient-centered care
- Nov 2016
norms, and habits
Key dimension sadly overlooked in conversations about digital literacies. This requires cultural change.
- Sep 2016
Finally, in order for data-driven interventions to be wide-spread, institutions must sustain a culture that embraces the use of data, and create incentives for data-driven activities amongst administrators, instructors and student support staff. Large-scale, data-driven policy changes are implemented with minimal friction and maximal buy-in when leaders demonstrate a commitment to data-informed decision-making, and create multiple opportunities for stakeholders to make sense of and contribute to the direction of the change. Users not only need to be trained on the proper ways to use these tools and communicate with students, they also require meaningful incentives to take on the potentially steep learning curve.
Thankfully, this paragraph isn’t framed as a need for (top-down) “culture change”, as is often the case in similar discussions. Supporting a culture is a radically different thing from forcing a change. To my mind, it’s way more likely to succeed (and, clearly, it’s much more empowering). But “decision-makers” may also interpret active support as weaker than the kind of implementation they know. It’s probably a case where a “Chief Culture Officer” can have a key role, in helping others expand their understanding of how culture works. Step 1 is acknowledging that culture change isn’t like a stepwise program.