Center for Advanced Studies - Transformation and Sustainability
Transformation and Sustainability
The research field "Transformation and Sustainability" is to contribute to a better understanding of ongoing transformation processes by analysing, evaluating, and explaining past and present processes of societal change.
There is an increasing agreement on the necessity of unprecedented, fundamental change in all dimensions of society to adequately address the interrelated crises of the environment, society, and the economy humanity is currently faced with. This urges politicians, scientists, activists, and civilians alike to act. Against this backdrop, the main objective of this research field is to contribute to a better understanding of ongoing transformation processes by analysing, evaluating, and explaining past and present processes of societal change.
In doing so, the project will look at different dimensions in society (e.g., politics, economy, culture, technology, demography) and explore key actors, dynamics, social practices, and relations of powers as well as how all of these aspects are interlinked. Beyond that, this research field also strives to identify challenges related to currently dominant, unsustainable societal structures – which can be, among others, physical, social, economic, cultural, and mental – and play an active role in exploring and promoting socially desirable ways to deal with them.
In this context, the following questions will be addressed: Why has a sustainability transformation not been achieved so far? What are the constraining and enabling factors? How well-suited are the currently dominant solution strategies (e.g., economisation, technological solutionism, green growth)? How could alternatives to a growth-driven, consumerist society look? (How) is it possible to shape transformation processes and create opportunities for radical change?
These and other research questions will be approached using both theoretical and empirical research, as well as traditional and more innovative inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and methodologies (e.g., action research, citizen labs).
More generally, the focus will be on three research lines:
- Understanding societal change
- Measuring and monitoring transformation processes
- Fostering a socio-ecological transformation
News & Events
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