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Making actors, paradigms and ideologies visible in governance for sustainability


  • Peter Söderbaum

    (School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden)


Research and teaching activities in economics and business management are specific not only in scientific terms but also in ideological terms. This political aspect has to be discussed openly. As an example, our interpretations of sustainable development (SD) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are closely related to our ideological orientations. In considering more radical changes towards SD, the three levels of theory of science, paradigms in economics and ideological orientation have to be involved. Positivism, neoclassical economics and neo-liberalism support the present institutional framework and globalization trend. Alternative perspectives at all three levels may open the door for a different set of institutions. While all these perspectives are essential, paradigms in economics appear to play a central role. Alternatives to economic man, profit-maximizing firms and markets understood in terms of supply and demand are proposed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Söderbaum, 2009. "Making actors, paradigms and ideologies visible in governance for sustainability," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 70-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:17:y:2009:i:2:p:70-81
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.404

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