Towards Science for Democratic Sustainable Development: Social Learning through Upstream Public Engagement

    Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling


    This PhD thesis considers how community-based action research can further new research orientations towards sustainable development. The thesis is empirically situated in the area of upstream public engagement where new forms of bottom-up citizen participation are developed to engage local residents, sustainability resear- chers and practitioners in deliberating on how future research can meet societal challenges of urban sustainability.

    Based on the research project Citizen Science for Sustainability (SuScit) I analyse how orientations towards sustainability can be understood and challenged through a theoretical conceptualisation of democratic sustainable development. In this framework sustainability is understood as the immanent and emergent ability of ecological and social life, continuously to renew itself without eroding its own foundation for existence. Consequently societal sustainability cannot be invented but only supported (or eroded) by science, thus contrasting scientific progress perceived as intellectual commodity production driving the knowledge economy. In this perspective, social environmental problems represent societal, cultural and democratic challenges, calling for processes of mutual learning.

    On this basis I analyse how the SuScit initiative can be understood in terms of social learning between researchers and citizens. It is found that the process en- abled a particular social arena, a free space, for citizens to articulate marginalised un-sustainable aspects of urban everyday life, confronting academic concepts of sustainability. This process not at least calls for reflexivity among researchers facing the challenge how science can further sustainability through community engagement. To conceptualise this dynamic I propose the concept of creation and doubling of free space as an emerging action research methodology challenging inherent systemic rationales of science, by enabling free spaces both in everyday life and in academic contexts. I conclude that that this methodological approach holds potentials for furthering science for democratic sustainable development by building on a scientific and democratic double-orientation of research.
    ForlagRoskilde Universitet
    Antal sider208
    ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7349-790-6
    StatusUdgivet - 17 jun. 2011


    • Bæredygtighed
    • Demokrati
    • Videnskab
    • Borgerinddragelse
    • Aktionsforskning
    • Borgerdeltagelse
    • Community Engagement
    • Community Foresight
    • bæredygtig udvikling
    • Social læring
    • Videnskab og samfund
    • Videnskab og teknologi
    • videnskab

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