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Sustainability 2013, 5(9), 3615-3639; doi:10.3390/su5093615
Article

An Analysis of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) Discourse Using an Ability Expectation Lens

1
 and 2,*
1 Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary T2N 4N1, Alberta, Canada 2 Faculty of Medicine, Department Community Health Sciences, Stream of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary T2N 4N1, Alberta, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 July 2013 / Revised: 16 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 22 August 2013
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Abstract

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) was hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20–22, 2012, 20 years after the first Earth Summit, with the intention of creating solutions to current global environmental issues. In this paper we present the results of an analysis of academic and newspaper articles that covered the Rio +20 summit, using an ability expectation lens. Articles were collected from academic databases such as EBSCO, as well as from newspapers such as the Globe and Mail (Canada) and China Daily; the articles collected were coded for ability expectations using an extensive list of codes which has been designed to identify ability expectations. Analysis of the discourse has revealed a number of ability expectations, such as the ability to produce and consume, the ability to work, and the ability to control. These ability expectations reveal what is seen as a necessary part of development. The opportunities and challenges which occur during development may be related to the expectations of the public, academic, private and not-for-profit sectors. The authors submit that in order to move forward towards universal sustainable development, it is critical to consider the ability expectations which are both explicitly and implicitly included in the Rio +20 discourse.
Keywords: ability studies; ability expectations; Rio +20; content-analysis; discourse ability studies; ability expectations; Rio +20; content-analysis; discourse
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.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Noga, J.; Wolbring, G. An Analysis of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) Discourse Using an Ability Expectation Lens. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3615-3639.

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