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Stories that Change Our World? Narratives of the Sustainable Economy

Anna-Lena Guske (), Klaus Jacob (), Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers (), Jan Peuckert (), Stefan Schridde (), Sven Stinner (), Franziska Wolff (), Dominik Zahrnt () and Florence Ziesemer ()
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Anna-Lena Guske: Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Klaus Jacob: Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers: Ecologic Institute, 10717 Berlin, Germany
Stefan Schridde: MURKS? NEIN DANKE! e.V., 13088 Berlin, Germany
Sven Stinner: ZIRIUS Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies, University of Stuttgart, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany
Franziska Wolff: Oeko-Institut, 10179 Berlin, Germany
Dominik Zahrnt: (r)evolutionary Ideas, 10437 Berlin, Germany
Florence Ziesemer: Chair for Business Administration/Marketing, University of Potsdam, 14482 Potsdam, Germany

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 21, 1-14

Abstract: Narratives are shaping our understanding of the world. They convey values and norms and point to desirable future developments. In this way, they justify and legitimize political actions and social practices. Once a narrative has emerged and this world view is supported by broad societal groups, narratives can provide powerful momentum to trigger innovation and changes in the course of action. Narratives, however, are not necessarily based on evidence and precise categories, but can instead be vague and ambiguous in order to be acceptable and attractive to different actors. However, the more open and inclusive a narrative is, the less impact can be expected. We investigate whether there is a shared narrative in research for the sustainable economy and how this can be evaluated in terms of its potential societal impact. The paper carves out the visions for the future that have been underlying the research projects conducted within the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funding programme “The Sustainable Economy”. It then analyzes whether these visions are compatible with narratives dominating societal discourse on the sustainable economy, and concludes how the use of visions and narratives in research can contribute to fostering societal transformations.

Keywords: narratives; sustainable economy; societal impact of research; research communication (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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