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dc.contributor.authorDresner, Simonen
dc.date.accessioned2018-01-31T11:42:56Z
dc.date.available2018-01-31T11:42:56Z
dc.date.issued1997en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/27943
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractThe terms 'sustainability' and 'sustainable development' have been widely used in the context of environmental issues since the 1987 Brundtland Report, but there has been controversy about what they mean, if anything. This thesis examines how a concept like sustainability is used to attempt to change the world and how, conversely, its meaning is changed by the political context in which it is used. Some people have seen sustainable development as an attempt to co-opt environmentalist concerns, rather than a genuine shift in approach.en
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the contemporary debate about sustainability and its historical origins in wider concerns about Progress that have been present since the beginning of the modern age at the end of the eighteenth century, but were largely dormant from the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1970s. Following a review of literature, many of the key players in the debates of the last twenty years were personally interviewed. Sustainability is shown to be a concept coined by environmentalists in the 1970s to counter criticism that concern about the environment was unimportant relative to social problems like poverty. It also had the advantage that it placed opponents of environmentalism on the rhetorical defensive.en
dc.description.abstractThe thesis explores the sharp debates in recent years as environmentalists and economists have struggled for control of the concept. It shows how adoption of the concept of sustainability requires a rethinking of the utilitarian philosophy that has been the ethical basis for economic theory to date. It also shows that environmentalists have retreated from simplistic neo-Malthusian thinking about economic growth.en
dc.description.abstractThe uptake of the idea of sustainability is seen as marking a loss of confidence in the modern age's identification of Progress with crude domination of nature. There is growing acceptance of the idea of physical limits in view of the increasing evidence. Paradoxically, the concept of sustainability is based on criticism of modernity's approach to nature but retains modernity's optimism about the rational control of society. The recent collapse of confidence in socialism has underlined scepticism about that aspect of modernity just as much as the environmental crisis has undermined its goal of the domination of nature.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.ispartofAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2017 Block 16en
dc.relation.isreferencedbyen
dc.titleSustainability: a survey and critical analysisen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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