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The right tools for sustainability research? Perspectives on transforming and transformative methods 
Britta Acksel (Wuppertal Institute)
Catharina Lüder (Technische Universität Berlin)
Anja Klein (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
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Joerg Niewoehner (Technical University of Munich)
Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Sustainability research is increasingly expected to contribute to transformations. How (focusing on research methods) is this being done, how is research transformed on the way, and which futures are enacted/foreclosed? We want to explore STS-contributions to sustainability transformations.

Long Abstract:

Sustainability research is increasingly expected to contribute to sustainability transformations. Especially inter- and transdisciplinary research is called upon to speed up transformations. For STS scholars this means to look into how sustainability research is being done and transformed in this setting and how STS perspectives are taken up in research on sustainability transformations, eg. in recent evocations of a relational turn. Here, potential spaces for method(ological) experimentation, collaboration or co-laboration are emerging. In this respect, it is important to consider which futures this research creates, enacts, and performs or rather forecloses.

The emphasis lies on (novel) research methods and approaches, such as (but not limited to) Real-World Experiments, Living Labs, Pre-Enactment, Participatory Modelling, VR Scenarios. We invite papers that discuss some of the following questions:

What kind of knowledges do research methods employed in sustainability research produce? What ways of un/knowing do they promote?

What do research methods in sustainability science seek to transform and how are methods themselves transformed on the way?

How do engaged (and/or normative) commitments and/or expectations to enabling sustainability transformations change ways of doing research, e.g. with regards to inter- and transdisciplinarity?

We are looking for papers presenting empirical and/or conceptual work on sustainability research methods, that reflect and discuss specific methods or broader methodological developments and/or that question established combinations of theories and methods.

We invite paper presentations for the first session of our panel. This will be followed by a discussion session, which will include a comment on the papers by Jörg Niewöhner as well as an impulse dialogue between the convenors to kick-off a conversation among all participants. We want to explore collaborative spaces for STS-contributions to and reflections on sustainability transformations.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1
Session 2