Knowledge for sustainable development : a worldviews perspectiveKnowledge for sustainable development : a worldviews perspective
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Department of Biology - other
Environment, development and sustainability. -
(2012), 23 p.
University of Antwerp
A huge tension exists between recognizing sustainable development (SD) as a meta-discourse and accepting a limitless interpretational width. We analyse the impacts of diversity of worldviews on the interpretation of SDas a knowledge-based conceptthrough a critical literature review, resulting in recommendations on the topic. We apply a social-constructionist approach, appreciating the complex socio-ecological interactions at the heart of SD. Only recently worldviews are recognized as constitutive elements of SD. Little attention has been given to the impacts on generated knowledge for SD. Variety of worldviews induces a variety of knowledge claims and needs. To retain SDs universal appeal as practical decision-guiding strategy for policy and action, we propose an integrative approach towards knowledge for SDentailing an explicit pluralization of knowledge. SD should be re-interpreted as a joint worldviews construct, embracing a diversity of views in collaborative research and co-production of knowledge. Interpreting SD as a joint endeavour is necessary to overcome historical obstacles like cultural hegemony and a hierarchy of knowledge systems. We identified the following requirements for an inclusive knowledge for SD paradigm: re-interpretation of SD as a worldview constructs in progress; interpretative flexibility; co-production of knowledge; subjectivity awareness and self-reflexivity; respect for a diversity of worldviews/knowledges; identifying shared goals; collaborative research; a systems approach; transdisciplinarity; and recognition of contextuality. Further researchconcerning potential methodologies and typologiesto reconcile variety of worldviews and knowledge systems in a joint SD worldviews construct is urgently needed.