Next Article in Journal
Next Article in Special Issue
Previous Article in Journal
Previous Article in Special Issue
Sustainability 2013, 5(7), 2976-2990; doi:10.3390/su5072976
Article

Communication Regarding Sustainability: Conceptual Perspectives and Exploration of Societal Subsystems

1,* , 1
, 1
, 1
, 1
, 1
 and 2
Received: 18 May 2013; in revised form: 28 June 2013 / Accepted: 1 July 2013 / Published: 9 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication for and about Sustainability)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [643 KB, uploaded 9 July 2013]
Abstract: Sustainability issues are typically characterized by high complexity and uncertainty. In light of this, communication plays a crucial role in coping with these challenges. The previous debate on sustainability communication has largely focused on how to communicate sustainability issues to others. Sustainability communication, however, involves more than sender oriented communication to persuade others (“communication of sustainability”); it also embraces processes of dialogue and discourse (“communication about sustainability”). Based on this distinction, we develop a typology of communication modes, including communication for sustainability. Inspired by the notion of functional communication systems, we explore sustainability communication in six societal subsystems, applying the typology of communication modes. Drawing mostly on examples from Germany, we find a shift from “communication of” towards “communication about” sustainability in most subsystems. While communication subsystems have a tendency towards operational closure, a variety of interlinkages exist. We discuss three key areas of “opening up” communication subsystems, leading to transdisciplinarity, societal deliberation and governance, each meeting one of sustainability’s core challenges.
Keywords: Sustainability communication; typology of communication; communication of. about and for sustainability; transdisciplinarity; deliberation; governance Sustainability communication; typology of communication; communication of. about and for sustainability; transdisciplinarity; deliberation; governance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Newig, J.; Schulz, D.; Fischer, D.; Hetze, K.; Laws, N.; Lüdecke, G.; Rieckmann, M. Communication Regarding Sustainability: Conceptual Perspectives and Exploration of Societal Subsystems. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2976-2990.

AMA Style

Newig J, Schulz D, Fischer D, Hetze K, Laws N, Lüdecke G, Rieckmann M. Communication Regarding Sustainability: Conceptual Perspectives and Exploration of Societal Subsystems. Sustainability. 2013; 5(7):2976-2990.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Newig, Jens; Schulz, Daniel; Fischer, Daniel; Hetze, Katharina; Laws, Norman; Lüdecke, Gesa; Rieckmann, Marco. 2013. "Communication Regarding Sustainability: Conceptual Perspectives and Exploration of Societal Subsystems." Sustainability 5, no. 7: 2976-2990.


Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert