Methods of Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-02-28
  • Publisher: Sage Pubns
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Sustainability is a key concept used by social scientists interested in interactions between human society and the environment. Although hotly contested and subject to intense debate, it offers an important starting point from which to explore the connections and exchanges between people and the biophysical world they inhabit. In addition, sustainability has the potential to provide a shared conceptual space for inter- and transdisciplinary research on social-ecological issues that brings together people with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and diverging worldviews. This book offers a systematic and critical review of established and emerging methodological approaches and tools for the integrated investigation of sustainability questions. Recognising the significance of scale for sustainability efforts and measurement, its scope ranges from the local to the global. This emphasis of socio-spatial scales is complemented with systematic reflections on the centrality of time in sustainability thinking and practice and its implications for research. The book is divided into four areas: Part I: examines the key challenges inherent to social scientific sustainability research, focusing in particular on epistemological and methodological questions that arise from recent efforts towards greater disciplinary integration. Part II: discusses methodologies aimed at the investigation of attitudes and behaviour observable at the local level - from families and households to individual organisations within communities Part III: focuses on comparative sustainability research across different levels of socio-political organisation - from cities and regions to nation-states. Part IV: covers recent developments which recognise the significance of time for sustainability research and which offer innovative methodological approaches that focus on life events and long-term outcomes. It also offers a critical assessment of current and future trends in social-scientific sustainability research and reflects on both chances and challenges of doing research that aims to be relevant to diverse audiences, including academics, policy makers, sustainability advocates and practitioners. Bringing together contributions from international social scientists, the book will be suitable for academic and non-academic audiences interested in sustainability research and will be a core teaching text for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in sustainability and sustainable development, geography, environmental sociology and the environmental sciences.

Table of Contents

Measuring The Immeasurable? The Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainability Research
Introduction: Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences - Interdisciplinary Challenges and Methodological Issues
Researching Local Lives: Experiences of Sustainability Among Individuals, Households and Communities
Household Analysis: Researching 'Green' Lifestyles - a Survey Approach
Social Groups and Collective Decision-Making: FG Approaches
Researching Local Lives: Studying Conflict
Leaders and Laggards? Comparative Research on The Sustainability Performance of Regions and Nation-States
Ecological Footprint, Material and Energy Flows Analysis (MEFA) and Input-Output Analysis (IOA)
Lifecycle Analysis (LCA)
Hdi and Millennium Goals
Systems, Networks, Scales and Mobilities
Mobile Methods and Sustainability
Time and Sustainability
Network and Systems Analysis
Researching Complex Sustainability Issues: Reflections on Current Developments and Future Challenges
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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