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Sozialökologische Transformation

The rese­arch unit on “social ecolo­gical trans­for­ma­tion” deals with policy issues and deve­lop­ment dyna­mics from a specific perspec­tive of the need for radical change. We perceive social ecolo­gical trans­for­ma­tion as a deep histo­rical change in our ways of living and modes of produc­tion with serious and substan­tive impli­ca­tions for culture and poli­tics. A central issue that then rises is how poli­tics and policy making are to be conducted in this age of social ecolo­gical trans­for­ma­tion?

We acknow­ledge the incre­a­sing evidence for the need to deep struc­tural changes of our soci­o-e­co­nomic system and our ecolo­gical meta­bo­lism. Capi­ta­list market econo­mies, based on the growth impe­ra­tive, consu­me­rism and uneven access to resources, do not only lead to resource deple­tion and envi­ron­mental degra­da­tion, but also threaten social cohe­sion and peaceful inter­na­tional coope­ra­tion.

Mehr über dieses Thema

There­fore, ‘busi­ness as usual’ is incre­a­singly unsustainable, even in the short run. New perspec­tives, like a good life for all and the deve­lo­ping move­ment on a post-growth society, are needed to orient the ongoing changes towards a soci­o-e­co­nomic system that takes biophy­sical reality and limits into account and remains committed to key values of wisdom and justice. A central issue that then rises is how poli­tics and policy making are to be conducted in this age of social ecolo­gical trans­for­ma­tion? This then links to the Insti­tute’s rese­arch area on Gover­nance and Policy.

The clas­sical liberal, neoclas­sical economic and neoli­beral approa­ches share a faith in the power of the indi­vi­dual to make all the choices (e.g. consumer sover­eignty). This can quickly result in conclu­ding that we live, like Dr. Pang­loss, in the best of all possible worlds. The people have chosen and this world is what we have. Amongst other things, this assumes infor­ma­tion is freely avail­able and all are equally well informed. Yet infor­ma­tion is actually heavily controlled and distri­buted via restric­tive insti­tu­tions (e.g. media control, copy­right laws). There is also a failure to take into account power rela­ti­ons­hips and struc­tures preven­ting change, while placing all the emphasis on the voli­tion power of the indi­vi­dual. Marxist approa­ches in contrast have empha­sised class struggle and the struc­ture of the capi­ta­list economy. Society is then seen as constructed through processes of coun­ter­vai­ling powers and power struggles.  Social ecolo­gical trans­for­ma­tion then becomes part of poli­tical economy.

Unser Forschungs­team für Sozi­al­ö­ko­l­o­gi­sche Trans­for­ma­tion

ao.Univ.Prof. Doz. Dr. Andreas Novy
ao.Univ.Prof. Doz. Dr. Andreas Novy

Head of the Institute, Researcher at the Institute for Cooperation and Cooperatives

Clive Spash, PhD
Clive Spash, PhD

Stellvertretender Institutsvorstand

Dr. Wolfgang Fellner
Dr. Wolfgang Fellner

Assistant Professor