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Stories of Transformation: A Cross-Country Focus Group Study on Sustainable Development and Societal Change
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR.
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR.
Association for the Defense of the Environment and Development, ADAD, Cabo Verde.
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, CSPR.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5549-5897
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2019 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 8, article id 2427Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Societal transformation is one of the most topical concepts in sustainability research and policy-making. Used in many ways, it indicates that nonlinear systematic changes are needed in order to fully address global environmental and human development challenges. This paper explores what sustainability transformations mean for lay focus group participants in Cabo Verde, China, Fiji, Sweden, and the USA. Key findings include: (a) Tightly linked to interpersonal relationships, sustainability was seen as going beyond the Sustainable Development Goals to include a sense of belonging; (b) transformations were framed as fundamental changes from today’s society, but most participants stated that transformation pathways need to splice new structures into the old; (c) new technologies are key engines of change. Yet, the most common drivers were awareness, education, and knowledge sharing; and (d) regardless of whether state-centric or decentralized governance was preferred, personal action was seen as essential. The focus groups displayed a shared understanding across the geographical settings; a common realization of profound sustainability predicaments facing societies across the world; and a desire for fundamental change towards a more sustainable way of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2019. Vol. 11, no 8, article id 2427
Keywords [en]
societal transformation; sustainability; sense-making; focus groups; climate change; sustainable development goals; UN 2030 Agenda
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-156509DOI: 10.3390/su11082427ISI: 000467752200240OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-156509DiVA, id: diva2:1306878
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, Mistra GeopoliticsSwedish Research Council Formas, 2016-589
Note

Funding agencies:  Swedish Research Council Formas [2016-589]; MISTRA-The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research; Linkoping University-Guangzhou University Research Center on Urban Sustainable Development; MISTRA GEOPOLITICS

Available from: 2019-04-25 Created: 2019-04-25 Last updated: 2019-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Wibeck, VictoriaLinnér, Björn-OlaAsplund, ThereseBohman, Anna
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