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Coordinating the Study of Sustainability: Towards a Shared Language for the Social-Ecological System Framework

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Epstein, Graham; Kreitmair, Ursula
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8924
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
framework analysis
Abstract: "This paper represents a first attempt to move towards a shared language for the study of sustainability with the social-ecological systems (SESs) framework. It begins by situating knowledge generation using the interdisciplinary SES framework as a coordination problem that depends upon alignment around a core set of operational definitions to build a new science of sustainability. A related challenge is that the literature on the commons that provides much of the theoretical background for the framework lacks clear definitions for the vast majority of its key terms. Thus, definitions are presented in this paper for each of the tier one components and tier two attributes of the SES framework. It is hoped that these definitions will serve as a starting point for the development of a shared language that maximizes the accessibility and diagnostic capacity of the SES framework as we seek to understand sustainability in the anthropocene. The paper concludes by briefly discussing issues concerning the social, ecological, evaluative and macro-level components of the framework, respectively."

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