n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Science for the future : challenges and methods for transdisciplinary sustainability research

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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Sustainability research is aimed at meeting the challenge of dealing with important societal problems related to the 'metabolic' processes between society and nature in global context. Besides generating knowledge about the characteristics and dynamics of the complex processes involved (e.g. climate change, loss of biodiversity, increasing poverty and hunger), it should also contribute to normative knowledge about how to evaluate these processes and develop strategies for social change towards sustainability. An interdisciplinary composition of research teams is necessary to deal with the complexity of sustainability problems. The normative questions and the need for decisions to be made in situations of uncertainty additionally call for a transdisciplinary research design, involving actors from the life-world as equal partners. The process of integrating knowledge from different disciplines as well as from the life-world is a great challenge which needs to be met through methodological innovation. This article introduces constellation analysis as a methodological approach for bridging different knowledge claims, drawing on two case studies to demonstrate its application.

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