Performance versus values in sustainability transformation of food systems
Questions have been raised on what role the knowledge provided by sustainability science actually plays in the transition to sustainability and what role it may play in the future. In this paper we investigate different approaches to sustainability transformation of food systems by analyzing the rationale behind transformative acts-the ground that the direct agents of change act upon- and how the type of rationale is connected to the role of research and how the agents of change are involved. To do this we employ Max Weber’s distinction between instrumental rationality and value-rationality in social action. In particular, we compare two different approaches to the role of research in sustainability transformation: (1) Performance-based approaches that measure performance and set up sustainability indicator targets and benchmarks to motivate the agents in the food system to change; (2) Values-based approaches that aim at communicating and mediating sustainability values to enable coordinated and cooperative action to transform the food system. We identify their respective strengths and weaknesses based on a cross-case analysis of four cases, and propose that the two approaches, like Weber’s two types of rationality, are complementary-because they are based on complementary observer stances—and that an optimal in-between approach therefore cannot be found. However, there are options for reflexive learning by observing one perspective-and its possible blind spots-from the vantage point of the other, so we suggest that new strategies for sustainability transformation can be found based on reflexive rationality as a third and distinct type of rationality... [Show full abstract]
Keywordscomplementarity; food systems; perspectives; rationality; sustainability assessment; sustainability transformation; sustainability transition; sustainability science
Fields of Research0908 Food Sciences; 1203 Design Practice and Management; 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment; 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development; 12 Built Environment and Design
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
CitationAlrøe et al. (2017). Performance versus values in sustainability transformation of food systems. Sustainability, 9(3), 332. doi:10.3390/su9030332
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Fraser, Helen (Lincoln University, 1996)This project discusses the complex topic of urban sustainability. I apply an IEM framework to determine the factors which make some cities more sustainable than others. The first four chapters discuss urban sustainability ...
Identification and assessment of factors affecting the sustainable management of Nothofagus forests in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina Carabelli, Esteban (Lincoln UniversityCanterbury, 2005)The Tierra del Fuego government has a statutory responsibility to ensure that Nothofagus (Lenga) forests are sustainably used, respecting them as a natural and social heritage to be preserved for future generations. ...
Prioritizing sustainability indicators: using materiality analysis to guide sustainability assessment and strategy Whitehead, Jay (John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of ERP Environment, 2017-03)Despite the growing awareness of complexity in sustainable development, the practical implementation of sustainability assessment through the use of sustainability indicators requires prioritizing the myriad indicators ...