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What is the story with sustainability? A narrative analysis of diverse and contested understandings

Aliette K. Frank ()
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Aliette K. Frank: University of British Columbia

Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2017, vol. 7, issue 2, 310-323

Abstract: Abstract Since the coining of the term “sustainability/sustainable development,” diverse and contested understandings of sustainability theory and practice have circulated both within the academy and the public at large. For the most part, sustainability has been approached from a very science-dominated perspective. That is only part of the story: while science is important for sustainability, science alone cannot account for the many situated dimensions of life. In contrast to science, story—or narrative—as both a mode of knowing and process of knowledge construction, can account for life’s place-, time-, and event-dependent dimensions. This paper performs a narrative analysis of eight different conceptual frameworks of sustainability—Deep Ecology, Social Ecology, Ecofeminism, Environmental History and Human Geography/Ecology, Complex Adaptive Systems, Political Ecology, Ecological Economics, and Business and Sustainability—to identify where these frameworks are commensurate and irreconcilable, with the aim of exploring a coherent alternative to current practice and conventional ways of thinking.

Keywords: Sustainability; Sustainable development; Narrative analysis; Romantic critique; Social critique; Western science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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