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Theorising pathways to sustainability

Beland Lindahl, Karin, Baker, Susan Catherine ORCID:, Rist, Lucy and Zachrisson, Anna 2016. Theorising pathways to sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 23 (5) , pp. 399-411. 10.1080/13504509.2015.1128492

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Using a Pathways approach, controversies over environmental and natural resource management are viewed as expressions of alternative, or competing, pathways to sustainability. This supports deeper understanding of the underlying causes of natural resource management controversies. The framework is composed of two elements: the STEPS (Social, Technological, and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Pathways approach and frame analysis. Many sustainable development dilemmas are played out in specific places and consequently, the Pathways approach is integrated with a place-based frame analysis. The resulting framework guides empirical investigation in place-based contexts. This theorising about sustainability science can be used to cast light on contested natural resource management issues, in this case mining in northern Sweden. By exposing the range of alternative Pathways to critical norms of sustainable development, we ascertain whether action alternatives are compatible with sustainable futures. The framework provides a way in which sustainability science can better understand the origins of natural resource management conflicts, characterise the positions of the actors involved, identify the potential for cooperation between stakeholders leading to policy resolution and judge what Pathways help or hinder the pursuit of sustainable development. In addition, it can enhance sustainability science by guiding integrative sustainability research at the project scale.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1350-4509
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 June 2016
Date of Acceptance: 30 November 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 03:26

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