Proposed solutions to sustainability often bring different economic sectors into conflict; when a sustainable solution for one sector is non-sustainable for another it creates what we call the dilemma of sustainability. A recent example took place in the Columbia Basin of the Pacific Northwest, involving competing notions of sustainability by fisheries and the energy industry. Taking up some ideas of Eger and Lyotard, we criticize the constructivist approach which treats large ecosystems as constructions and the process of resolving conflicts of sustainability as one solely consisting of negotiations involving the trading off of interests. We propose instead to treat such conflict resolution via a Gadamerian-inspired hermeneutics that sees different economic sectors as having different interpretations of sustainability and that aims at common understanding.
Gremmen, B. , Jacobs, J. (1997). Understanding sustainability. Man and World 30 (3), pp. 315-327.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.