Call for abstracts: Research for Sustainable Development

2019-10-02

With this issue, Research and Change aims to contribute additional knowledge about sustainable development. What characterises sustainable development? How do we approach research for sustainable development? What do we know about the challenges, resistance, possibilities and learning processes that affect the relationship, in specific areas, between practical measures and research for sustainable development? And what effect does the fact that research is striving to contribute to sustainable development have on methods, concepts and research roles?

Since the Brundtland Report, sustainable development has meant supporting economic and social development without having to do so at the expense of the environment and the opportunities of future generations. This attempt to balance social, economic and environmental considerations has since been criticised for a tendency to allow the imperatives of growth and economic sustainability to set the agenda for sustainability, resulting in the destitution of nature, human life and society in general. The UN's Global Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which offer a framework for sustainable development until 2030, are regarded by some as a welcome response to this criticism: The Global Goals are seen to offer potential progress towards the identification of systemic obstacles to sustainable development, which may be a stronger bid in terms of a balanced approach to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. However, the whole idea that social, ecological and economic conditions can be balanced in practice has been open to the criticism that it confines us to prioritising conflicts of interest between economic growth, social inequality and the protection of nature, without gaining any real insight into what sustainability could be in material terms. We know more about how to analyse sustainability crises than about how to prevent or remedy them. We need to know more about how research can contribute to knowledge of specific challenges related to sustainable development: How do potentialities, tensions and ambiguities emerge and shift within actual research efforts to promote sustainable development?

Sustainability is a potent and ambiguous concept that can be used to understand and work with the context, aims and development of a wide spectrum of research activities relevant to practice. Sustainable development could be an aspect of research that, for example, addresses challenges related to the consumption of material and human resources in the workplace; challenges related to educational approaches, working conditions and organisation in daycare provision; or challenges related to escalating global inequality, the climate crisis and the real prospects for vulnerable citizens in the 'safe' lap of Scandinavia's welfare systems. Research for sustainable development must often approach the topic through various disciplines, such as working life studies, technology studies, public administration and management, organisational theory and studies, economics, learning theory, sociology, pedagogy and political philosophy. Research questions about and contributions to sustainable development can rarely be clearly demarcated. Precisely for this reason there is need to clarify whether and in what way research may genuinely contribute to a more sustainable development of culture, nature and society.

Articles highlighting research for sustainability might, for example, examine:

  • The relationship between sustainable development, learning processes, involvement and the knowledge or lack of it about good sustainable practices.
  • Challenges in relation to sustainable development which we (still?) do not know how we can or should respond to.
  • The importance of the criticism, hope, and commitment to sustainability issues offered by researchers and practitioners.
  • How to deal with specific conflicts of interest, including the importance of achieving a balance and/or accepting conflict.
  • Methodically significant gambits - for example, the concepts of time, purpose and power as aspects of involvement in sustainable development.

Practical information

Deadline for abstracts: January 1, 2020

Language: Abstracts may be submitted in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish or English.

Length: A maximum of 500 words

Content: The author must describe the expected structure and content of the article as well as the following elements (in the order that is relevant to your article):

  1. Purpose
  2. Conceptual/theoretical framework
  3. Research design/methods
  4. Results
  5. Limitations
  6. Implications for research and/or practice
  7. Contribution to knowledge sharing

Abstracts should be uploaded to the journal's digital platform: Make a submission

To upload an abstract you must register as a user. Please note that usernames must not contain uppercase letters or spaces.

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About Research and Change

Research and Change is a double blind peer reviewed journal, published twice a year and covering specific themes in an open access online format. The first issue was published in May 2018. It is published by Cappelen Damm Publishing and is a cooperative project involving Scandinavian universities and university colleges. The journal publishes articles in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English. Read more about the journal