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Studying Sustainable Change: From ABC to Practice

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The Attitude-Behaviour-Choice (ABC) paradigm emphasizing the importance of individuals’ freedom of choice represents a dominant way of understanding the world and how the world is created that is routinely practised within all parts of society, including in social research on environmental change. In effect, alternative views that presumably have a greater potential to change society in a more sustainable direction are being suppressed. To move society in a more sustainable direction, the influence of the ABC paradigm on current research has to be identified, dissolved, and replaced by alternative approaches. The analysis is primarily based on social practice theories as formulated by Elisabeth Shove and colleagues, as well as on methodological experiences and observations made in a 2011 study of barriers to sustainable change in Europe.
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Keywords: ABC paradigm; green policy failures; practice theory; research design; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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