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October 25 , 2009

Methods of Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences


Sustainability is a key concept used by social scientists interested in interactions between human society and the environment. This text offers a systematic and critical review of established and emerging methodological approaches, as well as 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. Divided into five sections:

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  • Part I: examines the key challenges inherent to social scientific sustainability research, focusing in particular on 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 outcome.
  • Part V: offers a critical assessment of current and future trends in social-scientific sustainability researc.

 Bringing together contributions from international social scientists, this is the resource for academics and practitioners interested in sustainability research. It will be a core teaching text for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in sustainability and sustainable development, geography, environmental sociology and the environmental sciences.

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