Conference Session: Governance of (un-)sustainability? Competing struggles and perceptions on matters of sustainable development
13.11.2014

Conference session at the Nordic Geographers Meeting 2015 in Tallinn/Tartu on topics that discuss the sustainability aspects of various governance programmes and approaches. Deadline for abstract submission 15th November [click here for submission]

There seems to exist a broad agreement among policy makers, public spheres as well as many industrial sectors about the need for sustainable development in our society and its sustainable use of natural resources. This agreement, itself often appearing to be of a rather rhetoric nature nevertheless plays a major role in the governance processes that promote sustainable development and gloss over the multiplicity of meanings, dynamics and pathways at stake. Thus, while evaluations of spaces in need of action and related programmes are shaped by their actor’s definitions/perceptions of sustainability we must also pay attention to place their materialization in relation to the socio-cultural contexts of every day practices in a variety of spatial settings. This means critically to assess if governance programmes and their understanding of sustainable development are bound to deliver fundamental changes to reduce our society’s environmental impact or merely as pointed out by Ingolfur Blühdorn to sustain unsustainable practices through a democratic rhetoric of sustainability.

The session invites studies which critically evaluate governance programmes and processes that are promoted to deliver sustainable development/improve sustainability. A focus on perceptions/definitions of sustainability, policy materialization/mobility and on topics on sustainability and social changes in every day practices is appreciated.