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Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development

Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development

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This book deals with the issue of sustainable development in a novel and innovative way. It examines the governance implications of reflexive modernisation - the condition that societal development is endangered by its own side-effects. With conceptualising reflexive governance the book leads a way out of endless quarrels about the definition of sustainability and into a new mode of collective action.

The authors assert that sustainability is not a defined end-state, but should be understood as the capacity of society to learn about the conditions of its future existence and wants. This requires, in their view, a specific kind of problem solving framework which emphasises the interlinkage of problems and scales, as well as long-term and indirect effects of various actions. Sustainability calls for new forms of governance with attention given to uncertainty, ambivalence about multiple goals and distributed power. The book develops an alternative framework with which to address the challenge of sustainability and derives a set of strategy elements for dealing with sustainability in practice. These are discussed from conceptual as well as practical perspectives.

Bringing recent insights from innovation research, governance studies and complexity theory in common focus, Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development will be of great interest to researchers in social change, innovation and governance studies, as well as policymakers confronted with sustainable development issues.