Special Issue "Producing Knowledge and Expertise to Govern for a Sustainable Future"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Geography and Social Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Karin M. Gustafsson
Website
Guest Editor
Environmental Sociology Section, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
Interests: knowledge production; science–policy–public relations; boundary work; boundary organizations; environmental governance; biodiversity loss; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In all aspects of governing for a sustainable future, (scientific) knowledge and expertise are at the core. This is especially so when it comes to governing environmental problems which, due to their character, are dependent on science to be defined and explained. With the growing number of socially and technologically generated environmental risks, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and chemical use, individuals and organizations at all levels of society need to relate to and make use of complex information and knowledge in their decision-making on a daily basis. Thus, perhaps now more than ever, it is of great importance to explore and explain the processes that precede the (scientific) knowledge and expertise that we so heavily depend on in environmental governance.

Where do the knowledge and expertise come from, how are they produced, who is producing them, and how are they used and with what results?

This Special Issue of Sustainability addresses these questions by focusing on the relation between knowledge production and environmental governance at local, regional, and global levels. Together, the contributions explore how this relation is manifested and how it plays out at these different levels of society as well as how the different levels influence one another. This exploration of (scientific) knowledge, expertise, and environmental governance includes questions on the relation between knowledge producers, knowledge systems, and social spheres, such as science, policy, and publics.

Dr. Karin M. Gustafsson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Science
  • Expertise
  • Environmental governance
  • Policy
  • Knowledge production
  • Knowledge brokering
  • Boundary work
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Local knowledge
  • Citizen science

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Making the Unsustainable Sustainable: How Swedish Secondary School Teachers Deal with Sustainable Development in Their Teaching
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198271 - 08 Oct 2020
Abstract
The aim of this article is to investigate how Swedish teachers manage the uncertainty and complexity associated with sustainable development (SD) as a field of knowledge, in relation to the requirements in the school curriculum. Underlying the whole concept of sustainable development is [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to investigate how Swedish teachers manage the uncertainty and complexity associated with sustainable development (SD) as a field of knowledge, in relation to the requirements in the school curriculum. Underlying the whole concept of sustainable development is the vision that there is a possible solution to the ecological, economic and social problems created by humans. However, it is not so clear what this solution actually means in practice. The article builds on an analysis of transcribed individual and group interviews with 40 teachers at Swedish lower and upper secondary schools, related to the topic of sustainable development as a field of knowledge. A thematic analysis was carried out by identifying four broad themes, including dominating discourses. The results indicate that there is a lack of vision among the teachers for a future sustainable society, while at the same time, it seems to be taboo to talk about what an unsustainable society might mean in the long run. Presentations of the problems and knowledge of what causes them must always be combined with instructions on how problems can be solved and how pupils can influence their own future and help create sustainable development. The starting point for such a solution-oriented approach to SD is based on an assumption that individual behaviour is essential to achieving sustainable development and thus that individual responsibility is crucial. This focus leads to individual consumer choices, behaviours and lifestyles at the heart of teaching, while progressive, alternative visions and critical perspectives are downplayed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Producing Knowledge and Expertise to Govern for a Sustainable Future)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Scientific Landscape Related to Mapuche Indigenous Peoples and Wallmapu Territory
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197895 - 24 Sep 2020
Abstract
Recent international recognition of indigenous peoples, their rights and contributions to solving current challenges has directed academic attention to the way research is conducted in relation to them, what topics are studied, by whom, and using which methodologies. The Mapuche are the most [...] Read more.
Recent international recognition of indigenous peoples, their rights and contributions to solving current challenges has directed academic attention to the way research is conducted in relation to them, what topics are studied, by whom, and using which methodologies. The Mapuche are the most numerous indigenous peoples in South America and have ancestrally inhabited a territory denominated Wallmapu. This study undertook a comprehensive revision and meta-analysis of the scientific literature related to the Mapuche and Wallmapu. Through quantification and visualization of the scientific landscape, the goal was to enhance the understanding of the themes and patterns that have guided research in this field of study. We found 1611 documents in Web of Science and SciELO collections published between 1975 and 2020. Using CiteSpace software, we analyzed the main conceptual hotspots, identified central authors and pivotal works, among other aspects of the scientific knowledge domain. The main research themes found revolve around political and historical aspects of the relationship between Mapuche and the State; ethnobotanical research including plant properties and cultural knowledge transmission; and the indisputable connection between indigenous resistance and environmental depredation. We argue that valuing cultural diversity paves the road for reclaiming indigenous knowledge as a contribution to our understanding of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Producing Knowledge and Expertise to Govern for a Sustainable Future)
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Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Engaged Science: Strategies, Opportunities and Benefits
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7854; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197854 - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Science is increasingly intertwined with an array of pressing societal issues, from the coronavirus pandemic response, to environmental concerns, to major national security threats. Meanwhile, scientists remain one of the most trusted groups of professionals and are looked to as both sources of [...] Read more.
Science is increasingly intertwined with an array of pressing societal issues, from the coronavirus pandemic response, to environmental concerns, to major national security threats. Meanwhile, scientists remain one of the most trusted groups of professionals and are looked to as both sources of inspiration for society’s collective curiosity and effective messengers of useful technical information. While traditional scientific training has not emphasized the skills needed to coherently translate nuanced scientific research to audiences beyond one’s inner academic circle, today’s scientists (and, prominently, scientists-in-training) are increasingly seeking out ways to engage with such broader audiences and apply their skills to real-world problems. Here, we offer engagement strategies for scientists across levels of scale (e.g., at the individual, lab group, department/university, and cross-institutional levels), highlighting both existing opportunities and areas where improved capacity for science engagement is warranted. We argue that efforts to enhance and harmonize engagement efforts will have multi-faceted benefits, with greater opportunities for science-society dialogues, enhanced equity and inclusivity in such dialogues, and broader professional opportunities for early career scientists. While we acknowledge that the development of effective scientific engagement skills requires interest, effort, time and resources, we argue that the development of skills for effective public engagement is a worthwhile and necessary element of scientific training that enables unique, rewarding, and multifaceted professional opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Producing Knowledge and Expertise to Govern for a Sustainable Future)
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