Table of Contents

The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology

The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology

Edited by Frank Boons and Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Most work on industrial ecology continues to emphasize its roots in engineering and the technological sciences. This book differs in that it explores the social context of industrial ecology and presents empirical work addressing how cognitive, cultural, political and structural mechanisms condition the emergence and operation of industrial ecology. The empirical chapters are written from various social science perspectives and the editors have also invited reflective commentaries by authors with cross-disciplinary experiences.

First intermezzo Out into the open: the promise of dialogue

Frank Boons

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, organisational behaviour, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental management, environmental sociology


Frank Boons In this book, we intend to address specifically the interdisciplinary nature of the field of industrial ecology. As the book deals with social science perspectives on material and energy streams, it communicates the insights of only one part of the industrial ecology community. Also, personal experiences give me ample reason to suspect that this perspective leads a relatively isolated life within the field. In order to provide openings for connections to the work in other disciplines, simply communicating our perspective will not be enough. For this reason, the book is peppered with a number of intermezzos. In each of these, researchers that come from science, engineering and technology (SET) disciplines comment on a set of chapters. This provides the beginning of a dialogue between the disciplines that feed the industrial ecology community. The preceding chapter by Henrikke Baumann in a way starts this dialogue. Trained as an engineer, she has been fascinated by social science work, and taken the step to engage herself actively with it, to embody more or less the interdisciplinary nature of our field. My path is different: as a social scientist, I have worked with SET people at different points in my career. Rather than trying to develop myself by acquiring their knowledge, I have reflected many times on these encounters, and tried to distill something out of that. In this first intermezzo, I present some of my experiences in engaging with SET research(ers), and present some of the ideas about dialogue that...

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