Current Research, no 10
Sustainable Development, Ecological Complexity, and Environmental Values
Edited by Ignacio Ayestarán and Miren Onaindia
Sustainable Development, Ecological Complexity, and Environmental Values contributes to expanding
the idea of sustainability by integrating different thematic issues related to sustainable
development in its threefold consideration (economic, social, and environmental) with regard
to the case of the Basque Country. On the global scale, changes have clearly accelerated;
ecological and social sustainability are two facets of the same changing reality. First, social
sustainability depends on ecological sustainability. If we continue degrading nature’s capacity
to produce the ecosystems’ services (water filtration, climate stabilization, etc.) and resources
(food, materials), both individuals and nations will be affected by growing pressures and
increasing conflicts, as well as by threats to public health and personal safety. Second,
ecological sustainability depends on social sustainability, a socially unjust and unfair system
with an ever-increasing population that is not able to have its needs met will necessarily lead
to environmental collapse. In addition, human behavior and the social dynamic often lie at the
heart of social and ecological problems. It must be, therefore, assumed that there will not be
sustainable development if sustainable societies do not first exist. A sustainable society has the
challenge of developing human capital. In this book, these global questions are treated as they
relate to specific place and context, the Basque Country and its modern institutions.
Current Research, no 7
Behavior and Organizational Change
Edited by Sabino Ayestarán and Jon Barrutia Goenaga
Advanced societies produce open and internationalized economies where competitiveness is a necessary requirement, although this in itself is not enough to guarantee sustained success. Social, political, and cultural complexities, along with increasingly greater social and collective needs, are another feature of the environment in question. Given this environment, companies and organizations in general have to maintain a high level of strategic tension and a significant capacity to adapt and be flexible when faced with different contingencies. Organizations must be driven by people who are committed to its goals, who actively participate in the management of labor processes, who have creative skills, and who are capable of getting along well with others and working as part of a team. Likewise, leaders must lean toward transformational or shared leadership, in which both the management and workers assume responsibility for growth. Cooperation between workers and managers is based on the experience that insofar as the company’s goals are achieved, so will those of each individual person. To appreciate the change, it is important to understand organizational behavior, as there can be no sustainable organizational change without a change in people’s behavior.
Cooperative companies form part of the social economy (a third economic sector beyond the private and public spheres that embraces community, voluntary, and nonprofit activities). Commercial companies distribute their surpluses in relation to the capital contributions of shareholders, while cooperatives do so according to the cooperative activity carried out by their members; in short, in a cooperative capital is subordinate to work. The cooperative spirit has been an important feature of Basque society, from the traditional auzo-lan (literally, “neighborhood work”) to the development of major cooperative companies like Alfa, Fagor, and ultimately Mondragon, the largest cooperative in the world and a major supplier of products and services not only to Basques, but also nationally and internationally. Today Basque cooperatives encompass all economic areas from credit unions to agricultural, housing, consumer, and transportation. This work focuses on the changes and challenges faced by the social economy in general and Basque cooperatives in particular in light of the crisis of the welfare state, the growth of neoliberal doctrines and greater privatization, and most recently of all, the global financial crisis. The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 analyzes the origins, values, and culture of Basque cooperativism. Part 2 focuses on innovation in and the management system of Basque cooperatives as a source of competitive advantage vis-à-vis traditional corporations. Finally, part 3 addresses the response of Basque cooperatives to globalization in general and the current global financial crisis in particular.
Current Research, no. 5
Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects
Edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos
Innovation is commonly associated with the world of business, in which it plays a key role at every stage of the commercial process. Yet innovation should also be understood in other, complementary, ways including the context and the conditions in which it is generated, giving rise to the concept of an innovation system; and the idea that scientific knowledge is part of the business system, both as a supplier and by way of its procedural methodology. With this expanded notion in mind, this book analyzes the creative spaces that make up innovation. We understand these spaces as the location of an activity and as a territory in which innovation activities take place; and we associate the notion of being creative with a wide and complex series of definitions. For example, innovation is linked closely to human activity and is increasingly demonstrated by the interest aroused by the term creative industries. In sum, then, innovation requires both the generation of new ideas (the creative act), and the application of those ideas in a specific context. Here, then, we explore how in organizations, innovation refers to the process by which an organization generates new creative ideas and turns them into something novel, useful, and viable, through commercial products, services, and business practices. In each case, creation would be considered an element prior to the process of innovation.
Current Research, no 4
Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country
Edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera
The Basque Country's social structure is undergoing a process of transition between the gradual disappearance of industrial society and the emergence of a knowledge society. Industrial society is no longer the force that rules daily life, but neither has a knowledge society yet been fully constructed. There is no completed model to serve as a reference for societies like that of the Basque Country. This book investigates the contexts and terrain of Basque social innovation. It begins with the premise that knowledge is mobile, fluid, unstable, and never static. Human networks are primarily networks of knowledge and information transfer with the ability to sustain interactive processes of learning and innovation. The stocks of knowledge that can be found in particular places are a cultural exercise in which success is a matter above all of shared culture. Social innovation locates the basis for innovation in the ability to take advantage of a society's social intelligence in the attempt to resolve problems and build futures when it confronts things like "conflict," "diversity," "climate change," "culture," and "the city and its new spaces." Innovating means, in the final analysis, producing systems of tolerance that accept some basic aspects of the existing situation in order to modify it.
Current Research, no. 3
Development Cooperation: Facing the Challenges of Global Change
Edited by Koldo Unceta and Amaia Arrinda
Development cooperation, a concept that has existed for more than fifty years, has been transformed drastically in recent years. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, so-called developing countries ceased to be potential pawns in global political dynamics and gradually became the focus of greater moral concerns. As such, pro-development policies demanded a more ethically grounded political strategy, a challenge that governments and international bodies did not koow how to, or did not want to, react to. This problem was compounded further by the impact of globalization, with its concomitant increase in the interdependence of a range of global economic, political, social, ecological, and cultural processes. Mostrecently of all, the global financial crisis and its consequences have also raised questions about the future of development cooperation, at a time when it should be more relevant than ever.
This book addresses a wide spectrum of issues that are central to the debate on development cooperation today such as sustainability, gender equity, technology, communication, rural development, global conflicts and commerce, labor relations, financing development, humanitarian action, and the specific case of Africa.
Current Research, no 2
Feminist Challenges in the Social Sciences: Gender Studies in the Basque Country
Edited by Mari Luz Esteban and Mila Amurrio
This book reflects many of the profound social, political, and economic changes that have influenced the UPV/EHU since the 1980s. This process shaped a complex social and political reality in the Basque Country that is mirrored in the diversity of authors and topics in the book. These authors do, however, share a feminist outlook and these chapters provide a general, albeit partial, overview of Basque feminist scholarship. The book is indicative of a twofold series of feminist challenges: There is the challenge of describing and reflecting upon the changes that have occurred in recent decades as regards the presence of women in the job market, in politics, and in public life. These are spheres where feminist activity—institutional, academic, and professional—has flourished to a considerable extent, but where inequalities, though often highly sophisticated and therefore difficult to identify, nonetheless remain evident. And there is a challenge in another sense as well, because the material gathered here represents a vital contribution to general research in the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, law, economics, political science, and communications sciences.
Current Research, no 1
Equality, Equity, and Diverstiy: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country
Edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano
Public education is one of the greatest achievements of European countries during the twentieth century. While schooling systems neither exclusively form citizens, nor are they sufficient to alleviate all inequalities, education plays an increasingly important strategic role in relieving social problems and promoting the civic and ethical upbringing of our children. Researchers and professors at the UPV/EHU have had the privilege to design and implement important educational projects in conjunction with government of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, which has authority over education in its territory. This book presents the timely (in most cases since 2000) observations, research, and programs that have resulted from this cooperation. Our stress—in both our theoretical and analytical dimensions—has been on the importance of diversity, the promotion of social and human values, and respect for basic human rights. In addition, we describe the cooperation that must be fostered—and the various needs met—between all educational "agents": academic researchers, administrators, teachers, parents, and the community at large to promote equality and fairness in our society.
Current Research No. 9
The Challenge of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country
Edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi
Of the non-Indo-European languages that survive in Europe, only one of these is in the western half of the continent—Euskara (the Basque language). It is, according to every study and despite the fact that the oldest testimonies in Euskara are only two thousand years old, a language that was used in the region prior to the invasions of Indo-European peoples with other cultures and other languages six thousand years ago. The Basque language, spoken by half a million people, is not related to any other language in the world. While it has constantly been challenged by its upstart linguistic neighbors, most notably French and Spanish, this language has survived through centuries. However, it has only been quite recently—and only in one part of the Basque Country—that Basque has received the stable recognition of being a coofficial language recognized by the public administration. In the space of a few years, Euskara went from being a language spoken mostly in rural areas to being used in the media, at university, and in the offices of the Basque government. In short, it became a “visible” language in a modern society. In the current work we present some of the features that characterize this modern bilingual society and investigate this new situation in Basque history: a history that, for good or bad, is still being written by its protagonists—the inhabitants of the Basque Country, something that is quite unusual in the history of languages.
Current Research, no 8
Violence and Communication
Edited by Jose Antonio Mingolarra, Carmen Arocena, and Rosa Martín Sabaris
Combining the terms “violence” and “communication” is a difficult, complex,
incomplete, and perhaps impossible task, yet Violence and Communication
seeks to demonstrate both generic and particular aspects of the expression
and representation of violence. In a general sense, this expression and its
consequences are explored in diverse global historical examples of violent
events including the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and 9/11, as well as
in thematic issues such as women and sexuality, poverty and inequality, and
the Internet and violence. In a more particular sense, the work also addresses
terrorist violence in the Basque Country, exploring specific topics such as its
psychological effects in society and discursive consequences in the print media
and on television. The book examines the representation of these different forms
of violence in both the visual media (film, television, and photography) and the
printed word (newspapers, literature, and so on). In short, the work attempts to
visualize what have been often non-visible forms of violence, as well as critically
analyze the multiple ways in which violence is represented and communicated.