Beyond “linking knowledge and action”: towards a practice-based approach to transdisciplinary sustainability interventions
The imperative to “link knowledge and action” is widely invoked as a defining characteristic of sustainability research. The complexities of sustainability challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss mean that linear models of knowledge and action, where knowledge is produced first (by researchers) then “applied to” action (by policy actors), are considered insufficient. Researchers have developed more dynamic, open-ended and collaborative forms of policy engagement such as transdisciplinary and co-production research. Although promising these approaches often remain captive to linear assumptions that hinder their transformative potential.
We contribute by providing a relational model of knowledge and action rooted in contemporary practice theory. A practice-based approach suggests the primary task of participants in transdisciplinary interventions is to find workable solutions to situations of dynamic complexity that are fundamentally indeterminate and unpredictable. Knowledge is not “applied to” action, but drawn upon, produced and used from within the situation at hand, allowing researchers and policy actors alike to better harness the emergent character of situational developments and outcomes.
A practice-based approach provides a conceptual language that captures the experienced complexities of intervening for sustainability, reconfigures the nature of “actionable knowledge,” and identifies appropriate modes of evaluation for transdisciplinary and co-produced research.
Research news | 2021-10-16
Centre receives substantial research funding on sustainable food production
IKEA Foundation grants 30 million SEK for continued research on more sustainable and just food systems. Gullspång Invest and its subsidiary Gullspång Re:food contribute additional 5 million SEK
Research news | 2021-10-16
Beatrice Crona appointed professor in sustainability science
Deputy science director selected for newly established professorship in sustainability science with focus on sustainable food systems
Research news | 2021-10-11
Low exposure to green areas may lead to higher rates of COVID-19 cases
New analysis links COVID-19 to nature inequity, showing communities of color face starkest burden
Research news | 2021-10-04
How cities play a crucial role in the transition to a carbon-free world
In connection with World Habitat Day, centre experts explain why cities are at the centre of planetary efforts to reduce our carbon footprint
Educational news | 2021-09-30
New MOOC on how to deal with the climate crisis
Learn how to drive the social change that is fundamentally required for an effective response to climate change
Research news | 2021-09-29
Ready for anything
Centre theme leader Cibele Queiroz explains why diversity is important in turbulent times