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IASS Tuesday Talks: „Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research: Sociological Reflection, Procedural Perspectives and Professional Cooperation“

February 23, 2021um14:00 - 16:00

Stephan Lorenz
„Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research: Sociological Reflection, Procedural Perspectives and Professional Cooperation“

In this Tuesday Talk Stephan would like to discuss his paper. The paper sets out to contributing to social theory based methodological progress in transdisciplinarity. It starts with a short introduction to the state of debate of TD research and its challenges and promotes a procedural perspective on sustainability; sustainable development as a learning process is determined as the subject matter TD research provides the means for. Then, sociological reflections on the main challenge – the collaboration between scientists and non-academics – follow. An ambivalence in the transdisciplinarity conceptualizations is observed because TD research performs a scientific activity but, at the same time, claims to essentially be a joint activity of scientists and non-academics. This entails several inconsistencies. The suggestion for more consistency is to acknowledge the ‘scientific bias’ in the first place, i.e., the TD research debate basically is a scientific self-reflexion about the role of scientists in collaborative activities with non-academics. In the next section a procedural approach to learning processes in transdisciplinary sustainability research is introduced. A general model of procedures promises conceptual progress because it provides a methodological foundation for science-practice cooperation as well as formal criteria for its evaluation. Finally, TD research is defined as a specific kind of applied sciences: scientists collaborate with non-academics, i.e., together they work on a sustainability issue. The outlook, therefore, recommends the professionalization of this collaboratively conceptualized TD research.

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Stephan Lorenz
 is a Senior Fellow at the IASS and an adjunct professor (apl. Prof.) for Sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. Main research areas are socio-ecological transformations, post/growth and sustainable developments, sociological theory and qualitative methods. In his projects he studied, for instance, organic food consumption, food banks in the affluent societies, the honey bee decline and new developments in beekeeping.


February 23, 2021
14:00 - 16:00
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IASS Potsdam
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