How can action research further new research orientations towards sustainability? This book, empirically situated in the field of upstream public engagement, involving local residents, researchers and practitioners in bottom-up processes deliberating on urban sustainability, answers this question by analysing processes of social learning. The book addresses the need to move towards sustainability at societal level as a democratic challenge questioning the way we live on planet earth. By conceptualising sustain-ability as an immanent and emergent ability of ecological and social life, continuously to renew itself without eroding its own foundation of existence, it argues that since sustainability cannot be invented but only supported (or eroded) by science, we need to reframe science in the role of sustaining sustain-ability. Through analyses of a three year action research programme, aiming to provide local citizens with a greater say in the future of urban sustainability research, this book shows how action research can make important methodological contributions to processes of social learning between citizens and scientists by enabling free spaces in peoples everyday life and within academia, where aspects of un-sustainability can be addressed and new imaginations of more sustainable futures emerge.
Jonas Egmose is Assistant Professor at Roskilde University, Denmark.
Egmose’s ambitious book links critical utopian action research to sustainability by showing how we can only deal with our survival, the failures of research and policy systems to address it, and the vital role of democratization together. Critical but not pessimistic, Egmose’s vision examines the role of critical reflexivity, multi-disciplinarity, and the people’s voice in addressing this global and local challenge. A truly exciting book. Davydd J. Greenwood, Cornell University, USA
There is growing understanding in both the scientific and broader community discourses that continued inaction will only exacerbate the environmental, social, economic, and political impacts we will face in the future. Egmose provides here a well-supported and richly illustrated examination of this critical question and offers us both theory and practice designed to help us to tackle these issues and, in doing so, to redefine the role of scientists in our societies as partners in creating positive social and environmental change.Mary Brydon-Miller, University of Cincinnati, USA (extract from the Foreword)
This book not only offers an important conceptualization of sustainability that integrates both ecological and social perspectives, but it also provides extremely valuable insights into the creation of free spaces in which citizens, scientists, and practitioner can meet to jointly construct a sustainable future. It is a must read for researchers and practitioners interested in exploring new ways of generating knowledge for change.Victor J. Friedman, Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Israel