Journal Article

Title Different forms of Difference in Multi-Level Governance for Sustainability: Connections between gender and complexity theory perspectives
Author Farrell, Katharine N.
Published on 30 Jun 2005
Published by Technische Universität Wien
Published in Volume 31 • Issue 1/2 • 2005 , pages 9-19
AC AC11360421
DOI 10.34749/oes.2005.1058
URN urn:nbn:at:at-ubtuw:4-1058

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Abstract (English)

Taken independently, political theory concerning (a) multi-level governance and (b) sustainability (sustainable development) are both concerned, in their own ways, with communication across multiple perspectives. When speaking about multi-level governance, the focus is on the different perspectives associated with the frames local, regional, national and international (European Union wide and wider. When speaking about sustainability, the focus is on the different perspectives associated with different aspects of sustainability issues. Relationships between individuals and groups with potentially competing and/or incommensurable political interests, ranging from those of business developers and financiers to those of deep-ecologists, homemakers, and future generations are of analytical interest. In considering the two together, under the frame of multi-level governance for sustainability, two somewhat finite sets of relationships, cross-referenced, produce a highly complex web of inter-dependencies and relationships. Taken up within this context, to next incorporate political theory concerning gender, might seem likely to tip the whole discussion into a chaotic mess. However, far from confusing the discussion, inclusion of a gender dimension actually helps to make the discussion more clear. While it does increase the complexity of the theoretical space, adding a gender perspective dimension also reveals a potentially helpful set of categories, which can be extrapolated to the multi-level governance and sustainability sets of perspectives through reference to partial system theory. This set of bounded, partial systems categories offers an interesting and potentially powerful heuristic for describing the structure and dynamics of the complex set of inter-relationships that comprise multi-level governance for sustainability.

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