Here’s a video about the “Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model”. What’s that, you ask? Well, in (very) crude terms – it’s about how some problems get onto the public and political radar, and how others don’t. “Dialectic” is an academic word meaning “discussion/debate/struggle.” So, fossil fuel companies – to pick an example entirely at random – might try to delay action on cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Theoretically…
The video stars Professor Frank Geels of the Sustainable Consumption Institute at University of Manchester. Here’s an account of a seminar he did last year called “The arduous transition to low carbon energy” . It also stars Caetano Penna, one of his PhD supervisees, who co-developed the “DILC.”
UPDATE 26th April : Someone I sent it to wrote back-
“… I am a bit uncomfortable with the underlying assumption that time unfolds in a linear fashion. Problems go through defined stages according to this model. Is that true? We can develop these simplistic, evolutionary narratives of change with historic case studies but I think change is much messier and contingent. Is there the potential for a problem to skip a stage or develop a new stage or hybridise multiple stages? And there is a significant emphasis on the social without any acknowledgement of nonhumans and the role of space and place. I think it is more useful to think about how change happens through iterative, cyclical, hybrid, and situated processes. Change is a much more complex process than is presented here. The downside of this perspective is that it is much harder to articulate and doesn’t provide any constructive modes of action.”
I replied (I paraphrase) “Thanks! Some caveats (esp re linearity/potential “stuck”/oscillating between stages) got left on the cutting room floor to keep the narrative tight – it’s a 5 minute video, not a 3 year PhD”. That was probably a) self-serving and b) unduly defensive? Fwiw, I think the folks who came up with the DILC (not me!) are aware of most (all?) of those points, but they certainly need to be raised. The model (and it’s a model, not a theory) is young, it needs helpful pokes like this, and therefore I’m dead grateful!