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Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: The role of concepts, models, and case studies in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research

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  • Baumgärtner, Stefan
  • Becker, Christian
  • Frank, Karin
  • Müller, Birgit
  • Quaas, Martin

Abstract

We develop a general and unifying methodology for ecological economics which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this methodology is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, (generic) models and case studies. This provides a systematic and integral view on ecological economics, and thus allows one to see the relationship between contributions to the field that have so far been perceived as very heterogeneous and largely unrelated. At the same time, this methodological framework may provide orientation for the further development of ecological economics.

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  • Baumgärtner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Frank, Karin & Müller, Birgit & Quaas, Martin, 2008. "Relating the philosophy and practice of ecological economics: The role of concepts, models, and case studies in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 384-393, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:384-393
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    1. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin, 2005. "The private and public insurance value of conservative biodiversity management," UFZ Discussion Papers 27/2005, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
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