Global Science and Sensosphere: an Integration and Implementation Wisdomscape
Sustaining sustainability science: The role of established inter-disciplines
Karen Kastenhofera, , , Ulrike Bechtolda and Harald Wilfingb
a Institute of Technology Assessment, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Strohg. 45/5, A-1030 Wien, Austria
b Dept. of Anthropology, Universität Wien, Althanstrasse 14, A-1091 Wien, Austria
Received 27 July 2010;
revised 8 December 2010;
accepted 8 December 2010.
Available online 17 January 2011.
The establishment of new interdisciplinary fields such as ecological economics, human ecology or technology assessment can be interpreted as a logical consequence of striving for new sustainability sciences that address current global, multi-dimensional and multi-scale challenges. These set out to bridge the gap between the natural and the social sphere, between scientific analysis and societal action. This paper aims at re-assessing the contribution of established inter-disciplines to sustainable development. Journal articles of ecological economics, technology assessment and science and technology studies are evaluated and compared along several proposed features of sustainability science. The results converge in two crucial aspects. (1) Concise societal or political recommendations are not part of present day ‘normal science’, be it a disciplinary or an explicitly interdisciplinary research context. (2) Participatory exercises are rarely applied as a socio-politically embedded practice, despite a high interest in such exercises as an object of study and discussion.
►Established inter-disciplines contribute to current sustainability science. ►They include ecological economics, technology assessment and STS. ► We analyse papers in these fields along proposed features of sustainability science. ► Concise societal recommendations are not part of these inter-disciplines' practices.► Participatory exercises are rarely applied as a socio-politically embedded practice.