Sari Asikainen, Claudia Brites, Katarzyna Plebańczyk, Ljiljana Rogač Mijatović & Katriina Soini: Culture in Sustainability. Towards the Transdisciplinary Approach

Title: Culture in Sustainability. Towards the Transdisciplinary Approach

Editors: Sari Asikainen, Claudia Brites, Katarzyna Plebańczyk, Ljiljana Rogač Mijatović & Katriina Soini

ISBN: 978-951-39-7267-7

Publisher: University of Jyväskylä

Published: 2017



Few can have fully foreseen the success of the idea of ‘Sustainable Development’ when it was introduced to a broad global audience in 1987 by the Brundtland report ‘Our Common Future’. Almost 30 years later, the idea is still increasingly being presented as a pathway to all that is good and desirable in society, widely adopted and frequently called-in-aid. Sustainability is essentially about the future(s) we want. This brings questions about the possible trajectories for a different future(s) and development of humanity. What can be achieved? How to surmount conflicts among competing values? What kind of political subject could emerge capable of making the decisions needed to ensure a better future? How to initiate and manage the sustainability transformation, both locally and globally?

In order to meet many urgent challenges of the present, new modes of thinking and acting are required. It is increasingly agreed that sustainable development as incremental change is not sufficient, but a fundamental transformation to sustainability that concern the human systems as whole, is needed. This calls for a better understanding of the role of culture in striving towards and achieving sustainability.

Investigating Cultural Sustainability (COST IS1007) was a European Union (Horizon 2020) funded research network coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä in 2011-2015. The COST Action with 80 participants representing 25 European countries and wide range of disciplines explored possible roles and meanings of culture in sustainable development. The Final Conference of the Action “Investigating Cultural Sustainability” in Helsinki, 6-8.5.2015 focused on theories and conceptual approaches, policies and governance, and practices and methodologies that explicitly analyse the role(s) of culture(s) in sustainable development. This book is a compilation of the papers presented in the conference.

The topic of the COST Action as well as the conference was broad, covering numerous disciplines, concepts, expertise, theories and concepts, exactly as it was intended to. Rather than giving a thorough idea of the Action or the conference, this book presents a few, very different perspectives on how the idea of culture in sustainability was interpreted and approached, showing the diversity of the issues that have been discussed and are to be taken into account when talking about culture in sustainability.