Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes

1st Edition

Edited by Dena Fam, Jane Palmer, Chris Riedy, Cynthia Mitchell


268 pages | 46 B/W Illus.

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‘Transdisciplinarity’ is a form of research and practice that synthesises knowledge from a range of academic disciplines and from the community. There is now global interest and a significant body of work on transdisciplinarity and its potential to address the apparently intractable problems of society. This creates the opportunity for a specific focus on its practical application to sustainability issues.

Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes examines the role of transdisciplinarity in the transformations needed for a sustainable world. After an historical overview of transdisciplinarity, Part I focuses on tools and frameworks to achieve sustainability outcomes in practice and Part II consolidates work by a number of scholars on supporting transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners.Part III is a series of case studies including several international examples that demonstrate the challenges and rewards of transdisciplinary work. The concluding chapter proposes a future research pathway for understanding the human factors that underpin successful transdisciplinary research.

As Emeritus Professor Valerie Brown AO notes in her Preface, this book moves transdisciplinary inquiry into the academic and social mainstream. It will be of great interest to researchers and practitioners in the fields of sustainability, qualitative research methods, environmental impact assessment and development studies.

Table of Contents

Preface Valerie Brown

1. Transdisciplinary research and practice for sustainability outcomes: Introduction Jane Palmer, Chris Riedy, Dena Fam and Cynthia Mitchell

2. Transdisciplinarity and sustainability: patterns of definition Julie Thompson Klein 

Part 1: Working in the transdisciplinary space: Navigating diverse knowledges to create change

3. Beginning at the end: the outcome spaces framework to guide purposive transdisciplinary research Cynthia Mitchell, Dana Cordell and Dena Fam

4. Tools for transdisciplinary research Gabriele Bammer

5. Transdisciplinarity as transformation: a cybersystemic thinking in practice perspective Ray Ison

Part 2: Developing and supporting researchers in transdisciplinary practice

6. Being a transdisciplinary researcher: skills and dispositions fostering competence in transdisciplinary research and practice Dena Fam, Tanzi Smith and Dana Cordell

7. Seeding a new transdisciplinary community of practice Chris Riedy

8. Supervising transdisciplinary doctoral research: adopting transcendent and transgressive supervisory strategies Catherine Manathunga

9. Assessing transdisciplinary doctoral research: quality criteria and implications for the examination process Juliet Willetts and Cynthia Mitchell

Part 3: Creating change through transdisciplinary research and practice

10. Transforming cities: securing food and clean waterways through a transdisciplinary phosphorus approach Dana Cordell, Genevieve Metson and David Iwaniec et al.

11. Creating knowledge: visual communication design research in transdisciplinary projects Jennifer Williams, Dena Fam and Abby Mellick Lopes

12. Trandisciplinarity in action: four guidelines, a reflexive framework and their application to improving community sanitation governance in Indonesia Cynthia Mitchell and Katie Ross

13. Ethnography as transdisciplinary inquiry: two stories of adaptation and resilience from Aceh, Indonesia Jane Palmer

14. ‘To be green, clean and beautiful is progressive’: reframing sustainability through transdisciplinary research and practice in northern Việt Nam Tanzi Smith

15. Transdisciplinarity as an emergent property in an agricultural research for development project on the East India Plateau Bill Bellotti

16. Trouble at the disciplinary divide: a knowledge ecologies analysis of a co-design project with native Alaskan communities Dena Fam and Zoe Sofoulis

17. Future directions: a trans-anthropo-logic of transdisciplinarity Roderick Lawrence

About the Editors


Jane Palmer

Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Learn more about Jane Palmer >>

Dena Fam is Research Director and UTS Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Jane Palmer is Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow (Community Futures) at the Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Chris Riedy is Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Cynthia Mitchell is Deputy Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sustainability

Sustainability has become one of the most pressing social, environmental, economic, cultural and political issues of our times. Yet the meaning of ‘sustainability’ remains elusive.

This series provides original insights from across the social sciences and humanities on the meaning and practice of sustainability. It offers both theoretical and practical analysis of ‘sustainability’, including social sustainability, sustainable consumption, democratic sustainability and sustainable behaviour.

These interdisciplinary books give students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners the latest thinking from international authors. This thought-provoking series draws on and is relevant to those working in a wide-range of disciplines, including environment, development, sociology, politics, philosophy, business and marketing, media, geography, and anthropology.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy