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Theories & Methods

Complexity and transdisciplinarity: Theories and methods

As complex social-ecological systems behave in a non-linear and unpredictable manner, they can affect a diverse range of stakeholders and interest groups in different ways. Consequently, addressing sustainability problems is normally a highly contested process.

Given the multiple boundaries that counter the effective implementation of transdisciplinary approaches to knowledge generation, addressing sustainability challenges in a transdisciplinary way require extensive ‘boundary-crossing’. Examples of critical research questions in this regard are listed below:

  • In order to generate integrated sustainable solutions, which disciplinary, institutional, sectoral and cultural boundaries should be crossed?
  • What existing ideas, information, methods, practices, models and representations should be shared? What new concepts, methods and practices should be collaboratively developed?
  • What is the most effective way of communicating between different groups and disciplinary specialists? Is a new language required to facilitate such dialogue?

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