Demonstrating how a university can, in a very practical and pragmatic way, be re-envisioned through a transdisciplinary informed frame, this book shows how through an open and collegiate spirit of inquiry the most pressing and multifaceted issue of contemporary societal (un)sustainability can be addressed and understood in a way that transcends narrow disciplinary work. It also provides a practical exemplar of how far more meaningful deliberation, understandings and options for action in relation to contemporary sustainability-related crises can emerge than could otherwise be achieved. Indeed it helps demonstrate how only through a transdisciplinary ethos and approach can real progress be achieved. The fact that this can be done in parallel to (or perhaps underneath) the day-to-day business of the university serves to highlight how even micro seed initiatives can further the process of breaking down silos and reuniting C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’ after some four centuries of the relentless project of modernity. While much has been written and talked about with respect to both sustainability and transdisciplinarity, this book offers a pragmatic example which hopefully will signpost the ways others can, will and indeed must follow in our common quest for real progress.
Part 1: Setting the Scene
Gerard Mullally, Colin Sage and Edmond Byrne
Gerard Mullally, Edmond Byrne and Colin Sage
Part 2: Transdisciplinary Conversations and Conceptions
Owen McIntyre and John O'Halloran
Brian Ó Gallachóir, Paul Deane and Alessandro Chiodi
Mary O’Shaughnessy and Colin Sage
Part 3: Conclusions
Stephan Maier, Michael Narodoslawsky and Gerard Mullally
Edmond Byrne, Colin Sage and Gerard Mullally
'The homogeneous worldview of mechanical reductionism is incapable of encompassing the complex nature of sustainability. Treating a richly heterogeneous world demands a more appropriate metaphysics. The collected authors, whose interests span a multitude of disciplines, embark here upon the task of formulating such a vision adequate to the task of maintaining the human endeavor.'
Robert E. Ulanowicz, University of Maryland, USA
'This is an essential read for anyone interested in how researchers can help catalyse more practical and ambitious actions that do justice to the full depth of sustainability challenges. With humour, authority, humility – and great breadth of experience – the authors drive energetically through the daunting thicket of barriers, to help inform and inspire diverse kinds of much-needed transdisciplinarity.'
Andy Stirling, University of Sussex, UK
'Byrne, Mullally and Sage present a rich collection of perspectives on the increasing alignment of inter- and trans-disciplinarity with sustainability. Spanning theory and practice, the book situates new approaches in a history of arguments for alternative modes of thought and action. Chapters steer readers through the plurality of definitions, narratives, and philosophical frameworks of the core concepts. They also consider the role of technology, legal and political contexts, infrastructure and education within Ireland and the larger European context.'
Julie Thompson Klein, Wayne State University, USA