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Methods of Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences
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Methods of Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences

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© 2013 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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:

  • 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.

 
PART ONE: MEASURING THE IMMEASURABLE? THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF SUSTAINABILITY RESEARCH IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
Henrike Rau and Frances Fahy
Sustainability Research in the Social Sciences - Concepts, Methodologies and the Challenge of Interdisciplinarity
 
PART TWO: RESEARCHING LOCAL LIVES: EXPERIENCES OF (UN)SUSTAINABILITY AMONG INDIVIDUALS, HOUSEHOLDS AND COMMUNITIES
Stewart Barr and Jan Prillwitz
Household Analysis: Researching 'Green' Lifestyles, A Survey Approach
Anna Davies
Social Groups and Collective Decision-making: Focus Group Approaches
Mark Garavan
Local Lives and Conflict: Towards a Methodology of Dialogic Research
 
PART THREE: COMPARATIVE RESEARCH ON THE SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE OF CITIES, REGIONS AND NATION-STATES
Su-ming Khoo
Sustainable Development of What? Contesting Global Development Concepts and Measures
Veronika Gaube, Helmut Haberl, Karl-Heinz Erb
Biophysical Indicators of Society-Nature Interaction: Material and Energy Flow Analysis, Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production and the Ecological Footprint
Enda Murphy and Eoin A King
Mapping for Sustainability: Environmental Noise and the City
 
PART IV: TIME IN FOCUS
Melanie Jaeger-Erben
Everyday Life in Transition: Biographical Research and Sustainability
Henrike Rau and Ricca Edmondson
Time and Sustainability
 
PART V: CURRENT DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE TRENDS
Frances Fahy and Henrike Rau
Researching Complex Sustainability Issues: Reflections on Current Challenges and Future Developments

Methods of Sustainability Research fills a large gap in the literature of sustainability and green issues from a social science perspective. While there is a lot of work on what un/sustainability is... what we have less of is the varieties of methodological approaches to researching un/sustainability... An important book demonstrating the further maturation of the social science study of un/sustainability.
Dr John Barry
Queens University Belfast, author of The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability

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