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Keeping multiple antennae up: Coevolutionary foundations for methodological pluralism

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  • Goddard, Jessica J.
  • Kallis, Giorgos
  • Norgaard, Richard B.

Abstract

Methodological pluralism has been a tenet of ecological economics since the journal's inauguration. Pluralism has fostered collaboration and forged new insights across disciplines. However, to counter the hegemonic voice of mainstream economics and inspire action on climate change and inequality, ecological economics requires coherence to produce meaningful knowledge from diverse research findings. This has to be done in a world that is increasingly complex and rapidly changing. In this article, we argue that ecological economists should keep multiple antennae up to foresee and respond to the uncertainties of rapid change. Methodological pluralism facilitates diversity of thought, which scholars require in times of rapid change. Responding to previous critiques that methodological pluralism lacks philosophical foundation, we offer tentative conceptual and historical foundations. We ground our understanding of reality and how we partially know that reality in coevolutionary thinking. We illustrate how economistic beliefs (Economism), economic knowledge (episteme), and social-economic reality coevolve together with nature to produce the current era–the Econocene. Our historical tale of the Econocene illuminates how the economic-centric beliefs guiding public and academic knowledge reproduce unsustainable and inequitable outcomes. Ecological economists, we argue, should support guiding beliefs centered on the biosphere, equity, and care while practicing a structured pluralism.

Suggested Citation

  • Goddard, Jessica J. & Kallis, Giorgos & Norgaard, Richard B., 2019. "Keeping multiple antennae up: Coevolutionary foundations for methodological pluralism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:165:y:2019:i:c:10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106420
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    Cited by:

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    3. Lieke Brackel, 2021. "Continuous Negotiation in Climate Adaptation: The Challenge of Co-Evolution for the Capability Approach to Justice," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-18, November.
    4. Plateau, Lou & Roudart, Laurence & Hudon, Marek & Maréchal, Kevin, 2021. "Opening the organisational black box to grasp the difficulties of agroecological transition. An empirical analysis of tensions in agroecological production cooperatives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    5. Muradian, Roldan & Gómez-Baggethun, Erik, 2021. "Beyond ecosystem services and nature's contributions: Is it time to leave utilitarian environmentalism behind?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    6. Lundgren, Jakob, 2022. "Unity through disunity: Strengths, values, and tensions in the disciplinary discourse of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    7. Kish, K. & Mallery, D. & Yahya Haage, G. & Melgar-Melgar, R. & Burke, M. & Orr, C. & Smolyar, N.L. & Sanniti, S. & Larson, J., 2021. "Fostering critical pluralism with systems theory, methods, and heuristics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    8. Blignaut, James & Aronson, James, 2020. "Developing a restoration narrative: A pathway towards system-wide healing and a restorative culture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).

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