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Narratives of sustainability key concepts and issues

Chapter in book
Authors A. J. Nightingale
L. Karlsson
Tom Böhler
B. Campbell
Published in Environment and Sustainability in a Globalizing World. Andrea J. Nightingale (red.)
Pages 35-55
ISBN 9781317501831
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies, Human Ecology
Pages 35-55
Language en
Subject categories Globalization Studies


This chapter reviews some of the key concepts and issues in sustainability debates in order to better understand how sustainability can be invoked for a wide range of purposes. By scrutinizing the narratives of environment and society that underpin sustainability, a wide range of conflicting conceptualizations becomes evident. The chapter deals with a discussion about the contrasting conceptualizations that underpin different narratives of sustainability. Social movements seeking to articulate competing visions of sustainability often draw upon the historically rooted value systems and ways of conceptualizing socionatures to move beyond anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. Linking society and environment ontologically through a socionatures conceptualization recognizes that entities like forests, grasslands, human bodies, even the atmosphere, are socio-natural entities. Most sustainability narratives are predicated upon some separation of society from environment. Two other narratives that are particularly important for understanding sustainability are anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. Anthropocentrism advocates often promote technical and managerial approaches to solve environmental crises. © 2019 Taylor & Francis.

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