Sustainability (Hardback) book cover

Sustainability

By Thomas Pfister, Martin Schweighofer, André Reichel

© 2016 – Routledge

110 pages

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pub: 2016-06-07
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Description

Sustainability as a reference frame for dealing with the interconnection of environmental, economic and social issues on a global scale is not only characterized by complex problems and long-term strategies but also by differences and disagreements with regard to its meanings and how they should be realised. Therefore, Rather than seeking a single most appropriate definition of Sustainability, the main focus of this book is on how specific Sustainability problems are defined by whom and in which contexts, what solutions are pursued to tackle them, and which effects they have in practice. This account of the social nature of Sustainability is intended to assist its readers to better understand the complexities, dynamism, and ambivalence of this concept as well as to find their own position in relation to it. For this purpose, the book traces the historical development of the larger discourse on Sustainability and investigates responses to three grand Sustainability challenges: climate change, energy, and agricultural food production. It suggests that promoting Sustainability requires continuous and active care and is inseparable from political debate about the normative foundations of society.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Historical Reflection - A Brief genealogy of sustainable development 2.1. Introduction 2.2. Imagining the World as Finite Ecosystem and Livelihood in Need of Care 2.3. The Global Rise of Sustainability – From environmental angst to equity to economics 2.4.The Contemporary Fragmentation of Sustainability 3. Sustainability and Climate Change 3.1. Introduction 3.2. Towards a Science of Climate Change 3.3. Dimensions of Unsustainability 3.4. Climate Change as a Discursive Field 3.4.1. From Science to Global Policy 3.4.2. The Controversy Around Climate Change 3.4.3. Towards the Dominance of Climate Change 3.5. Climate Change Between Mitigation & Adaptation 4. Sustainability and Energy Systems 4.1. Introduction 4.2. The Formation of Modern Energy Systems 4.3. Dimensions of Unsustainability 4.4. Renewable Energies as a Response to Finite Resources 4.4.1. Limits to Energy Resources 4.4.2. Renewable Energy Without Limits 4.5. Safe Energy for Development 4.6. The Business Case for Sustainable Energy 5. Sustainability and Food Systems 5.1. Introduction 5.2. The Formation of Modern Food Systems 5.3. Dimensions of Unsustainability 5.4. Ecological Agriculture as Caring for Nature 5.5. Agriculture, Food, and the Quest for Equity 5.6. The Agricultural Green Economy 6. Sustainability as Transformation and Reflexivity 6.1. Making Sense of the Essential Diversity of Sustainability 6.2. Sustainability as Epistemic Commons and Experimental Transformation 6.3. Infrastructures for Sustainability 6.4. Caring for Sustainability, Caring for Transformation

About the Authors

André Reichel is a Professor for Critical Management & Sustainable Development at Karlshochschule International University in Karlsruhe, Germany. He holds a master’s degree in Management and a doctoral degree in Economics and Social Sciences from the Universität Stuttgart. His main research interest is on degrowth and postgrowth with a special emphasis on microeconomic actors like companies and civil society organizations. More information about his work can be found at www.andrereichel.de.

Thomas Pfister is Head of the EnergyCultures Research Group at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science, Sociology, Modern History from Ludwig Maximilian’s University Munich and a PhD in Political Science from Queen’s University Belfast. His main research interests are in the relationship between science, society, and politics, particularly with regard to sustainable development, energy transitions, and European integration. In particular, he is interested the epistemic dimension of governance in these contexts and its interaction with concepts and practices of citizenship.

Martin Schweighofer is a Researcher at the EnergyCultures Research Group at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Vienna, has worked as a sustainability researcher and project manager for several years, and is now heading for his PhD in Sociology. His main research interests are in cultural transformations towards sufficiency and the respective dynamics of social practices, especially looking at the epistemic dimension. Currently he is doing research on the importance of social movements in the transition of energy cultures.

About the Series

Key Ideas

This popular series covers the main concepts, issues, debates and controversies in sociology and the social sciences. The books are concise and informative yet lively. Written by leading authorities in the field, they give students access to 'new sociology' in manageable form.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI030000
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC015000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography