special-issue

Special Feature: Editorial Traps! Expanding Thinking on Persistent Maladaptive States in Pursuit of Resilience

This publication explores interdisciplinary perspectives from the social sciences and bridges two fields of scholarship: the resilience approach and sustainability transitions approach. Through interactions between global, social, and human systems, it presents a unique transdisciplinary effort to understand key phenomena in and trade-offs between global and local problem solving in social-ecological systems.

We are now facing cascading crises, which can be addressed with the concept of “traps”. The debate on traps in social-ecological-technological systems will advance sustainability science by clarifying what prevents our societies from escaping unsustainability traps. In this special feature we revisit the conceptualization of poverty and rigidity traps (Carpenter and Brock, 2008) by considering how perceptions and perspectives of representations of stability landscapes can affect spatial and temporal micro- and macro-dynamics which shape the very landscapes that contain these traps.

Transformations are radical changes of micro- and/or macro-dynamics that reshape the possibilities to escape these traps by reshaping/changing the basins of attraction and the landscape. The popular practice of conceptualizing and then representing via heuristic models broader scale dynamics in the form of dynamic landscapes and smaller scale dynamics in the form of stability landscapes and basins of attraction raises new questions and new understanding of how the lenses with which we approach time and space dynamics impact the way SES develop and/or can be managed over time. In this thinking, institutions and how they operate in relation to micro- and macro-dynamics resemble some archetypical behavioral patterns conceptualized as institutional traps, which are related to the more commonly referenced rigidity and poverty traps.

In this special feature, we ask “How might the ways scholars conceptualize and depict system properties and states influence either the managers of these systems or the systems themselves?” and “Could new and novel ways of characterizing and understanding as well as employing the notion of traps help us answer the first question posed?” This publication explores interdisciplinary perspectives from the social sciences and bridges two fields of scholarship: the resilience approach and sustainability transitions approach. Through interactions between global, social, and human systems, it presents a unique transdisciplinary effort to understand key phenomena in and trade-offs between global and local problem solving in social-ecological systems.

Citation
Tidball, K. and Frantzeskaki, N. (Ed.) (2016). Special Feature: Editorial Traps! Expanding Thinking on Persistent Maladaptive States in Pursuit of Resilience. Sustainability Science, 11(6), 861–866.

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Read the complete special feature here.


Date
October 15, 2016