Monthly Archives: February 2019

Durkheim theory in 7 minutes video

PhD Course: Modern Sociological Theory, at Copenhagen University

The course focuses on sociological theory during the period between roughly 1945 and 2000. It will discuss what is considered to be central theoretical developments and problems and also open up for discussions on what has been seen as more peripheral theoretical perspectives. The course aims both at orienting participants in different theoretical areas and traditions, and make possible in-depth studies of particular fields. The course aims at enriching participants ability to relate the development of sociological theory to relevant social, cultural and political contexts. The course will be based on mandatory readings and discussion seminars as well as on readings chosen by the participants according to their interest and in accordance with teachers.

The course is offered in cooperation by the Departments of Sociology in Copenhagen, Lund and Gothenburg. The instruction language is English.

What is telecoupling?

Show new policy regimesand regulations in one country have direct consequences for land use in others, forexample, in relation to forest protection policies resulting in leakages of deforestation abroad (Meyfroidt & Lambin,2009; Meyfroidt et al.,2013; Meyfroidt, Rudel, & Lambin,2010) .

A telecoupling ariseswhen an action produces flows between two or more place-based human–environment systems, which create a change and/or response in one or both of the systems–regardless of whether or not these effects are intended. Within each system, a varietyof agents can create or hinder the flows, and hence set in motion different causes andeffects, including feedbacks.

Systems are classified as sending, receiving or spill-over systems. Sending systemsrefer to places where the flow originates, whereas receiving systems are the recipients ofthe flow. Spill-over systems are understood as places that affect or are affected by the flowof interaction between sending and receiving systems, but without direct influence on thenature or direction of the flow. The complexity of the simple schematics increases asmultiple sending, receiving and spill-over systems interact over distances. Depending onthe particular flow being analysed, any system can act as a sending, receiving and/or spill-over system. Although the spatial extent of telecouplings is not explicitly addressed byLiu et al. (2013), telecouplings are implicitly characterised as interactions over (large)geographical distances, for example, the soybean trade between the US and China.
(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

Eakin et al.(2014) stress that the outcomes or results of telecoupled interactions are often indirect,emergent or of a second or third order because different land use systems are governedindependently of each other. This approach suggests that telecoupling can be analysedas the outcome of five key features: the trigger that sets the telecoupling in motion, thedirect impacts in the system with the initial change, the indirect/unexpected impacts inthe distantly coupled system, the feedback processes that influence the existinggovernance structures, and finally, the potential institutional change in both systems.

A further distinction of this approach is the explicit emphasis on the networkedinteractions across scales in the creation of telecouplings, which substitute the spatialhierarchy and nested scales of analysis featuring prominently in the structuredapproach. For example, Eakin et al. (2014) note that the rising influence of informa-tion technology and social networks have made it possible for actors toskip scaleand interact, influence and create outcomes in telecoupled systems (p. 159). Finally,the question of analytical entry pointis left open in the heuristic approach totelecoupling analysis, where the analysis, for example, could start from an observedland use change, a policy expected to trigger change or in adverse social or environ-mental impacts.

Whereas Liuet al. (2013) and Liu et al. (2014) frame telecouplings in a structured spatial hierarchy,Eakin et al. (2014) define them as the outcomes of networked interactions across scales.Furthermore, the structured approach in essence presents a type of‘checklist’of compo-nents to include in an exhaustive analysis that encourages, though does not require, theanalysis to begin from the flow of interest, while the heuristic approach focuses onnetworks, actors and processes with a more open analytical entry point (Friis &Nielsen,2014). Both approaches highlight the need for continued engagement withdifferent theoretical tools and methodologies in order to capture the full complexity ofthe dynamics and processes involved in telecoupling.

POLITICAL ECOLOGY These insights from political ecology can provide telecoupling research with the meansto address the challenge related to power asymmetries and asymmetrical relations betweensystems. By analysing interactions between distantly linked systems as (potential) distribu-tion conflicts, actors at both‘ends’of the interaction become active agents with (potential)power to influence the outcome of the interaction. Instead of analysing‘effects’of telecou-plings on (passive) receiving or spill-over systems, telecoupling research could ask whichactors, regardless of their‘location’in the interaction, have the power to decide on land useoutcomes and to shape the interconnectedness of (telecoupled) human–environment systems.The contested nature of the processes of production of (unequal) telecouplings could thus beexplored, with particular attention to dynamics of resistance and struggle for alternativetelecouplings and political ecological orders across the world.
(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(2) (PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

(PDF) From teleconnection to telecoupling: taking stock of an emerging framework in land system science. Available from: [accessed Feb 14 2019].

Intergroup Monopoly, game to explore the dynamics of group-based inequality

Intergroup Monopoly (created by Richard Harvey, shared by Vanessa Woods) Intergroup Monopoly is an action teaching game that modifies the classic Monopoly board game to explore the dynamics of group-based inequality. In Intergroup Monopoly, players begin with unequal amounts of money and are given individualized rules that reflect differing degrees of privilege or disadvantage. For example, a privileged player might receive $350 rather than the standard $200 for passing Go, whereas a disadvantaged player might be permitted to move only half the amount rolled on each turn. During this initial phase of the game, disadvantaged players quite often fall into substantial debt. In a second phase, “equal opportunity” is implemented and all players are permitted to play by normal Monopoly rules. What the players typically discover, however, is that even under conditions of equality, formerly disadvantaged players continue to decline and struggle with debt. This discovery leads to a classroom discussion about how to effectively address the enduring effects of prior group-based disadvantages.

Further instructions

What is Bagging in statistics?: “two heads are better than one”

“Bagging” or bootstrap aggregation is a specific type of machine learning process that uses ensemble learning to evolve machine learning models. Pioneered in the 1990s, this technique uses specific groups of training sets where some observations may be repeated between different training sets.

The idea of bagging has been used extensively in machine learning to create better fitting for models. The idea is that if you take several independent machine learning units, they can function collectively better than one unit that would have more resources.

To really illustrate how this works, think of each part of the bagging process as an individual brain. Without bagging, machine learning would consist of one really smart brain working on a problem. With bagging, the process consists of many “weak brains” or less strong brains collaborating on a project. They each have their domain of thinking, and some of those domains overlap. When you put the final result together, it is a lot more evolved than it would be with just one “brain.”

In a very real sense, the philosophy of bagging can be described by a very old axiom that predates technology by quite a few years: “two heads are better than one.” In bagging, 10 or 20 or 50 heads are better than one, because the results are taken altogether and aggregated into a better result. Bagging is a technique that can help engineers to battle the phenomenon of “overfitting” in machine learning where the system does not fit the data or the purpose.

What is training data? Basically data

Training data (or training set) refers to that portion of data used to fit a model. Unsupervised learning refers to analysis in which one attempts to learn something about the data. other than predicting an output value of interest (whether it falls into clusters, for example).