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Sustainability as a Real Utopia – heuristics for emancipatory sustainability research

Harnesk, David LU and Isgren, Ellinor LU (2019) The 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting
Abstract
The idea of ‘sustainability as a real utopia’ elaborated on here builds on sociologist Erik Olin Wright’s emancipatory social science and is a heuristic for interdisciplinary research on emancipatory alternatives that move society towards achieving sustainability. Starting from the proposition that socially relevant environmental problems are rooted in how social structures and institutions interact with nature through human agency, we argue that our heuristic will enrich sustainability research by providing theoretical and methodological guidelines for a transformative research agenda. We start by elaborating on the foundations of our heuristic. Then, drawing on concrete examples from sustainability research, we elaborate on the three... (More)
The idea of ‘sustainability as a real utopia’ elaborated on here builds on sociologist Erik Olin Wright’s emancipatory social science and is a heuristic for interdisciplinary research on emancipatory alternatives that move society towards achieving sustainability. Starting from the proposition that socially relevant environmental problems are rooted in how social structures and institutions interact with nature through human agency, we argue that our heuristic will enrich sustainability research by providing theoretical and methodological guidelines for a transformative research agenda. We start by elaborating on the foundations of our heuristic. Then, drawing on concrete examples from sustainability research, we elaborate on the three tasks of diagnosing and critiquing environmental problems, elaborating viable alternatives, and proposing a theory of transformation. Finally we discuss, and welcome further dialogue around, two central and interlinked challenges: that of scales, and that of the distinction and relationship between reforms and transformation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
sustainable development, emancipatory social science, sustainability science, real utopias
conference name
The 8th Nordic Geographers Meeting
conference location
Trondheim, Norway
conference dates
2019-06-16 - 2019-06-19
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
23166331-d3d8-447f-9fd8-e1e4012f898e
date added to LUP
2019-09-04 22:56:56
date last changed
2019-09-06 08:54:02
@misc{23166331-d3d8-447f-9fd8-e1e4012f898e,
  abstract     = {The idea of ‘sustainability as a real utopia’ elaborated on here builds on sociologist Erik Olin Wright’s emancipatory social science and is a heuristic for interdisciplinary research on emancipatory alternatives that move society towards achieving sustainability. Starting from the proposition that socially relevant environmental problems are rooted in how social structures and institutions interact with nature through human agency, we argue that our heuristic will enrich sustainability research by providing theoretical and methodological guidelines for a transformative research agenda. We start by elaborating on the foundations of our heuristic. Then, drawing on concrete examples from sustainability research, we elaborate on the three tasks of diagnosing and critiquing environmental problems, elaborating viable alternatives, and proposing a theory of transformation. Finally we discuss, and welcome further dialogue around, two central and interlinked challenges: that of scales, and that of the distinction and relationship between reforms and transformation.},
  author       = {Harnesk, David and Isgren, Ellinor},
  keyword      = {sustainable development,emancipatory social science,sustainability science,real utopias},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Trondheim, Norway},
  title        = {Sustainability as a Real Utopia – heuristics for emancipatory sustainability research},
  year         = {2019},
}