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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.

Second intermezzo A transdisciplinary perspective on industrial ecology research

Cynthia Mitchell

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


Cynthia Mitchell INTRODUCTION In this ‘dialogue’ chapter, my intention is to contribute to the exchange of ideas between social science perspectives and SET (science, engineering, technology) perspectives in industrial ecology research. My brief from the editors is to reflect on the chapters exploring regional approaches. Specifically, I am tasked with reflecting on the elements of the work that resonate with my experience, that are different, and that raise questions, and to do so by connecting my responses to my experiences. This I found an intriguing brief, not least because it leaves me feeling somewhat exposed – this intermezzo is a public and enduring account of something akin to the process of review as well as an exploration of the development of my own epistemological stance. Having a dialogue between disciplines who share an interest in exploring and implementing industrial ecology concepts is essential for it to reach its potential. And the mode we have chosen for doing so here is something of a compromise, since it is just one iteration, rather than an ongoing dialogue. That said, I think it is a worthwhile step in a useful direction, so here goes . . . To respond, I firstly give a brief account of my perspective, such as it is now – that of an engineering- and science-trained transdisciplinary researcher engaged with making a difference. I have synthesized the reflections into three sections: resonant concepts, differences, and clarifying questions. MY PERSPECTIVE In the spirit of this being a narrative, I’ll begin by telling my story. My...

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