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Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2623-2641; doi:10.3390/su6052623

“Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making

Institute for Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Scharnhorststraße 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 24 April 2014 / Published: 5 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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More than two decades after the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1992, sustainable development remains a big challenge. Politics and administration, especially in democratic societies, have a specific responsibility in coordinating sustainable development. In order to fulfill this role, the regulative idea of sustainability needs to be integrated into decision-making in politics and administration at all levels, from local to global. Taking this into account, we have analyzed the institutionalization of sustainability as a crosscutting and long-term challenge at the federal level in Germany. Based on a theoretical-conceptual framework deriving from democracy, bureaucracy and political steering/governance theory, we have employed qualitative methods to understand, in depth, how sustainability is integrated into political-administrative practice. In the present paper, we present key results and show that sustainability is not a routine practice at the federal level in Germany. We will conclude by giving an outlook on the structural and procedural options and argue for the need to develop a “sustainability state”. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability state; democracy; bureaucracy; governance; institution; qualitative research sustainability state; democracy; bureaucracy; governance; institution; qualitative research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Heinrichs, H.; Laws, N. “Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2623-2641.

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