Hertz' research deals with the question of to what extent the study of process ontologies can help us further understand social-ecological systems (SES). SES are a class of complex adaptive systems (CAS) and exhibit many properties, such as processes of emergence, diversity and individuality of components, non-linearity and self-organization that can well be accounted for in the framework of process ontologies. However, “grounding” CAS on process ontologies may have far-reaching epistemological and methodological consequences as to how we study CAS.
This may be very different compared to how we normally study CAS in the framework of classical substance ontologies. Hertz works with Maja Schlüter within the MuSES project (Towards middle-range theories of the co-evolutionary dynamics of multi-level social-ecological systems) to apply process thinking to emergent phenomena in the framework of case studies in Mexico (small-scale fisheries) and Uzbekistan (water management).
A further interest of Hertz lies in studying and developing approaches to disclosing and bridging the many different ontologies and epistemologies used in SES research in view of fostering transdisciplinary knowledge integration.
Hertz has studied Economic Sciences and Philosophy in Scotland and France and obtained his Doctoral Degree in Economic Sciences from the University of Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, which was supervised by Professor Alan Kirman focusing on common pool resources and evolutionary game theory.
In the framework of a variety of academic assignments he worked with the Department of Resource Economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin where he was a scientific coordinator for the project “Sustainable Hyderabad.”
He has also worked extensively with development cooperation (GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) in Indonesia and India, especially in the area of adaptation to climate change. In the framework of these assignments, he was particularly interested in how to integrate resilience thinking into vulnerability analyses to climate change and in designing the entire climate change adaptation cycle in a participatory and inclusive manner in order to deal with theory- and value orientation of scientific assessments.
Hertz is a member of IUCNs (International Union for Conservation of Nature) CEM (Commission of Ecosystem Services) thematic groups of Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation.
Research news | 2020-05-26
Focusing on processes and relations rather than entities can help solve key challenges in sustainability research
Research news | 2020-03-10
We talk and think in terms of things and entities that are stable and unchanging. This is understandable, but misguided, researchers argue
2020 - Journal / article
Discussions about emergence have traditionally been structured around the dichotomy between strong (ontological) and weak (epistemological) emergence. Those focusing on emergence as an epistemological problem, understand it as metaphysically innocent, indicating an insufficient (perhaps temporarily so) knowledge of the world. Ontological emergence, on the other hand, admits new levels of reality and causal powers. It emphasize...
2020 - Journal / article
Research on social‐ecological systems (SES) has highlighted their complex and adaptive character and pointed to the importance of recognizing their intertwined nature. Yet, we often base our analysis and governance of SES on static and independent objects, such as actors and resources which are not well suited to address complexity and intertwinedness. This bias, which is largely implicit, has its roots in substance ontologies...
2019 - Journal / article
This paper proposes an epistemological approach to analyse social-ecological systems from a process perspective in order to better tackle the co-constitution of the social and the ecological and the dynamism of these systems. It highlights the usefulness of rethinking our conceptual tools taking processes and relations as the main constituents of reality instead of fundamental substances or essences. We introduce the concept o...
2015 - Journal / article
Social–ecological system (SES) research is inherently cross-disciplinary which can create multiple challenges for building knowledge of SES. Some of these challenges relate to differences in ontological commitments due to theory orientation of individual disciplines. Frameworks, understood as boundary objects, have been suggested as tools for dealing with this type of challenge. This paper investigates this capacity of framew...