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Habermas in the garden : broadening the scope of social movements for sustainability

Villumsen, Sandra LU (2012) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20121
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
This thesis explores the potential of broadening the scope of social movements for sustainability. The implicit assumptions of the causal mechanisms for strategic social change propose limits to what transformative social action can be, and risk overlooking untapped resources for change. To address these limitations I use Habermas’ critical social theories on public engagement, systemic rationality crisis and new social movements supplemented with Weber’s principles of the unintended consequences of social action to look broader at transformative action towards sustainability. This is exemplified by alternative food movements using food as an entry point bringing along values of sustainability. The theory-guided research complemented with... (More)
This thesis explores the potential of broadening the scope of social movements for sustainability. The implicit assumptions of the causal mechanisms for strategic social change propose limits to what transformative social action can be, and risk overlooking untapped resources for change. To address these limitations I use Habermas’ critical social theories on public engagement, systemic rationality crisis and new social movements supplemented with Weber’s principles of the unintended consequences of social action to look broader at transformative action towards sustainability. This is exemplified by alternative food movements using food as an entry point bringing along values of sustainability. The theory-guided research complemented with a qualitative study of three value-based food movements in Copenhagen suggests that unintended consequences of social action for food, activate social mechanisms and that these mechanisms, under conditions of communicative social structures, bring about emerging values for sustainability, and unintendedly reproduce alternative social structures. These value-based social movements can therefore be important actors in shaping how sustainability is conceived in contemporary social movements, how sustainability becomes conceptualized in normative terms, as well as bridging the gap between theory and practical action. By illustrating these social mechanisms I suggest how value-based social movements can contribute to the path towards sustainability, by recognizing them as important collaborators in the strategies of political social movements. (Less)
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author
Villumsen, Sandra LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
communicative action, sustainability, value-based, social movements, unintended consequences, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2012:014
language
English
id
2798206
date added to LUP
2012-06-27 11:44:08
date last changed
2015-09-07 09:47:45
@misc{2798206,
  abstract     = {This thesis explores the potential of broadening the scope of social movements for sustainability. The implicit assumptions of the causal mechanisms for strategic social change propose limits to what transformative social action can be, and risk overlooking untapped resources for change. To address these limitations I use Habermas’ critical social theories on public engagement, systemic rationality crisis and new social movements supplemented with Weber’s principles of the unintended consequences of social action to look broader at transformative action towards sustainability. This is exemplified by alternative food movements using food as an entry point bringing along values of sustainability. The theory-guided research complemented with a qualitative study of three value-based food movements in Copenhagen suggests that unintended consequences of social action for food, activate social mechanisms and that these mechanisms, under conditions of communicative social structures, bring about emerging values for sustainability, and unintendedly reproduce alternative social structures. These value-based social movements can therefore be important actors in shaping how sustainability is conceived in contemporary social movements, how sustainability becomes conceptualized in normative terms, as well as bridging the gap between theory and practical action. By illustrating these social mechanisms I suggest how value-based social movements can contribute to the path towards sustainability, by recognizing them as important collaborators in the strategies of political social movements.},
  author       = {Villumsen, Sandra},
  keyword      = {communicative action,sustainability,value-based,social movements,unintended consequences,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Habermas in the garden : broadening the scope of social movements for sustainability},
  year         = {2012},
}