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Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 991; doi:10.3390/su9060991

The Normative Dimension in Transdisciplinarity, Transition Management, and Transformation Sciences: New Roles of Science and Universities in Sustainable Transitioning

1
Department of Knowledge Management and Communication, Faculty of Economics and Globalization, Danube University, 3500 Krems, Austria
2
Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 May 2017 / Published: 9 June 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2438 KB, uploaded 9 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

This paper discusses the role normative aspects play in different approaches of science–practice collaboration, in particular as action research, (Mode 2) Transdisciplinarity (Td), Transition Management (TM), and Transformative Science (TSc). We elaborate on the different roles that scientists in these processes play. They work as facilitators (or contribute to a facilitated Td process), as activists (i.e., activist researchers) in TM projects, and as catalysts in TSc. Td processes develop socially robust solutions for sustainable transitioning and impacts on the science system through mutual learning and by integrating epistemics (i.e., ways of knowing) from science and practice and focusing on the empowerment of stakeholders. Science is viewed as a public good aiming to serve all key stakeholders. Researchers involved in TM projects strive to influence ongoing transition processes by actively engaging and participating in them, including lobbying for and empowering transformative changes toward sustainability based upon the researchers’ own analyses and world views. The TSc approach takes a catalyst perspective of the scientist’s role in inducing processes of strategic (societal) transition when including certain stakeholder groups. The paper focuses on what roles normative aspects play in the different approaches and new societal demands imposed on science and universities. Based on this, we conclude that a new order of universities, public knowledge institutions, and boundary institutions is forthcoming. View Full-Text
Keywords: transdisciplinarity; transition management; transformative science; normative issues in science; societal demands; roles of scientists transdisciplinarity; transition management; transformative science; normative issues in science; societal demands; roles of scientists
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Scholz, R.W. The Normative Dimension in Transdisciplinarity, Transition Management, and Transformation Sciences: New Roles of Science and Universities in Sustainable Transitioning. Sustainability 2017, 9, 991.

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