Sustainability and the Social Sciences

A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Integrating Environmental Considerations into Theoretical Reorientation

Edited by Thomas Jahn and Egon Becker


Exploring the application of the concept of sustainability in the social sciences, this book argues that environmental questions will increasingly dominate humanity in the 21st century. Implications for theoretical development and intellectual cooperation across the social sciences are examined.
The eminent contributors to this volume explores the complex terrain of the interface between the social sciences and environmental research. Coming from a range of Social Science disciplines, they argue that environmental questions will increasingly dominate humanity in the course of the coming century. This reality holds out an opportunity, and indeed practical necessity, of stimulating important new lines of theoretical development within the social sciences as well as new forms of intellectual cooperation across them.

Taking sustainability as the potential common term of reference which can help generate problems to which responses must be found, this volume seeks to clarify the meaning and analytical implications of sustainability from a social sciences perspective in order to establish starting points for new research; and more ambitiously, to suggest ways in which the conceptual implications of sustainability can promote a reorientation of the social sciences themselves.

Author Bio

Egon Becker is Professor for Theory of Science and Sociology of Higher Education at the University of Frankfurt.

Thomas Jahn is Executive Director of the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE), Frankfurt.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Exploring Uncommon Ground: Sustainability as a Concept for the Social Sciences - Egon Becker, Thomas Jahn and Immanuel Stiess
  • Part I: Sustainability: Linking the 'Leitbild' to Emerging Fields of Knowledge
    • 2. Social Sustainability and Whole Development: Exploring Dimensions of Sustainable Development - Ignacy Sachs
    • 3. Sustainability and Territory: Meaningful Practices and Material Transformation - Henri Acselrad
    • 4. Sustainability and Sociology: Northern Preoccupations - Michael Redclift
    • 5. Sustainability, Sustainable Development and Gender: A View from a Feminist Perspective - Rosi Braidotti
    • 6. From Experience to Theory: Traditions of Social-Ecological Research in Modern India - Ramachandra Guha
    • 7. The Socio-Ecological Embeddedness of Economic Activity: The Emergence of a Transdisciplinary Field - Juan Martinez-Alier
  • Part II: Towards Defining, Measuring and Achieving Sustainability: Analytical Approaches in the Social Sciences
    • 8. The Political Logic of Sustainability - Nazli Choucri
    • 9. Economic Concepts of Sustainability: Relocating Economic Activity within Society and Environment - John M Gowdy


Publication Date: 1 October 1999
352 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781856497091
Library Edition: 9781856497084

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