Browsing by Subject "experiments"

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  • Laakso, Senja (2019)
    This article presents the results from an experimental project in Jyvaskyla, Finland, in which five 'pioneer households' aimed to reduce their environmental impacts by a variety of trials in different domains of daily consumption. The article analyses this 'home lab' experiment from a practice-theoretical perspective, focusing particularly on everyday mobility and the social interplay that occurs in mobility practices in different contexts. In so doing, the article explores the reasons behind the various outcomes of experimentation and discusses the potential of such experimentation to facilitate transformation in mobility practices. The results suggest that in order to shift daily mobility onto a more sustainable path, the social dynamics related to mobility practices should be better addressed. For example, the negotiations both inside and outside the participating households proved important in challenging the ways of doing mobility. Moreover, the potential for the diffusion of alternative mobility practices was shown to depend on a variety of factors that maintained the normality and acceptability of private driving. Utilising practice-theoretical insights in living laboratories can open new areas for experimentation and facilitate understanding of the shift in everyday practices towards greater sustainability.
  • Moilanen, Fanni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Sustainability transitions literature addresses societal challenges relating to sustainability and offers alternative visions as solutions. Transition of the energy system is central in mitigating climate change and attaining sustainability. District heating is a fundamental part of the Finnish energy system, and the majority of heat is produced with fossil fuels. This case study investigates the low temperature and two-way district heating experiment of Skanssi in Turku. Transitions evolve from local experiments i.e. niche innovations, which propose visions of sustainable alternatives. The implementation and diffusion of these alternatives is challenged by various hindrances, such as institutionalized practices. The aim of the study is to investigate the district heating experiment of Skanssi by utilizing sustainability transition literature. In addition, the study examines the institutions that hampered the implementation of the local niche innovation. The research data was collected by interviewing the central actors related to the development and implementation of the local district heating experiment. The interview data was analyzed using theory-guided content analysis. Internet based material of the case was utilized as secondary data. The local district heating experiment was initiated by the regional energy company in cooperation with the city of Turku. The experiment was expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to provide decentralized heat production in the Skanssi area. The implementation of the experiment had halted in 2018, and a two-way heating system had not been realized. Slow construction of the houses in the area hindered the implementation of the experiment. In addition various regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions effected the planning and implementation of the experiment. The lack of regulation concerning two-way heating systems increased uncertainty around the experiment. Furthermore, the experiment did not suit the practices, roles and interests of both the inhabitants and housing developers. The findings show that two-way district heating systems are still highly uncommon, and thus their implementation is inert and uncertain. After the data collection of this study there have been changes in the district heat sector, which may have influenced the development of the experiment in Skanssi. Since local experiments are essential in advancing the energy transition, it would be important to continue implementation of the local district heating experiment.
  • Niyazmuradova, Rano (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Understanding social dynamics and interactions between people in uncertain situations is vital for all organizations that seek new solutions to complex situations in rapidly changing environments. This phenomenon is fundamental to modern Cultural Historical Activity Theory that intertwines all elements of collective activity system and chains them towards new expansive paths of development. This study aims at investigating how background social interactions and characteristics of groups play a role in subsequent social dynamics and discourse in meaningless situations. Meaningless situations are created in double stimulation experiments run on groups of individuals in the University of Helsinki during 2012-2013. In these experiment, groups of 2-4 people are left uniformed in a room for 30 minutes, while their interactions are observed and recorded by investigators. The concentration of this analysis is on Finnish nationalities with shared activity. Such sample selection allows for better isolation of the dynamics in question from other confounding factors such nationalities and types of activities. In this study, I explore how: 1) differences in the discourse in the experiments; 2) differences in social dynamics before and during the experiments; as well as 3) interaction between social dynamics and discourse, affect groups’ decisions to break out of meaningless situations. I draw my conclusions from thematic analysis of experimental data, and additional information retrieved from subsequent interviews. Analysis of the data shows that social interactions between groups’ participants before the experiments had a decisive impact on the discourse, further social dynamics, and ultimate decisions to break out of meaningless situations in the experiments. The more affiliated the participants of the groups were before the experiments, the less group dynamics and co-constructive discourse there were in the experiment, and the more likely they were to leave the experiments prematurely. Accordingly, highly cohesive groups of co-workers, who had obviously completed major stages of group dynamics before the experiments, eventually broke out of meaningless situations in the experiments. These groups were devoid of the necessity to undergo further group dynamics through co-constructive discourse. On the other end of the spectrum are the groups of students who were acquainted before the experiments superficially at most. In these groups, we could observe further group formation, and unifying themes in the discourses that they led during the experiments. The groups of students did not break out of meaningless situations in the experiments, even though the initial stages of the break-out-process in these groups were more intense than it was the case in the groups of co-workers. The findings in this study should have repercussions for Cultural Historical Activity Theory in general, and its practical formative interventionist approach - Change Laboratory, in particular. The observations made in this study are in line with major claims in contemporary Cultural Historical Activity Theory that a search for new object-oriented activity is perpetual and mapped from the complex of social interactions chained in historical processes. Moreover, they touch upon an additional important dimension – discourse within groups in uncertain situations, that is to be explored further in future research.