Framing social-ecological transformation as a geographical concept

Jutta Kister, Felix Malte Dorn, Robert Hafner

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Global challenges call for timely social–ecological transformation. There is a substantial amount of literature on social–ecological transformation, increasingly replacing and going beyond ‘sustainability’. However, the concept itself is used very inconsistently. This paper aims at identifying and systematizing the strains of argumentation that encompass the social–ecological transformation. Adding German-speaking literature to the Anglophone debate, we systematize as we follow the concept's genesis to its varieties of use within context-based (spatial, temporal, and societal) disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary debates. Building on the various strands of contemporary use, this paper aims at contouring the epistemologies of the concept. Lastly, we illustrate the roles of geographical research approaches and the assigned methodology. We argue that the strands tend to drift apart and cannot be seen nor used as a singular uniform approach. We identify the key dimensions of how scholars use social–ecological transformation, unearthing underlying epistemologies. To conclude, we delineate key elements that geographical research on social–ecological transformation must address, laying the foundation for further scholarly debate.

Seiten (von - bis)e12744
FachzeitschriftGeography Compass
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 17 Apr. 2024

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