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Research projects

Advancing Strong Sustainability in the Nordic Social Science and Humanities (StrongSSH)

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2023 - 2024


Carolin Zorell

Research subject

The “Advancing Strong Sustainability in the Nordic Social Science and Humanities (StrongSSH)” network takes ‘strong sustainability’ as a point of departure, and it aims to assist Nordic social science and humanities (SSH) research in further developing the field. The network brings together dedicated early career researchers working on food, energy and mobility, to develop a thorough research agenda on strong sustainability during a three-year long workshop series.”

‘Strong’ sustainability is contrasted to ‘weak’ sustainability; ‘weak’ sustainability often assumes everlasting economic growth and embeds - or subordinates - sustainability targets (in)to growth objectives. ‘Strong’ sustainability challenges this assumption. Formally, it is defined as focusing on ‘the question of appropriate levels and patterns of consumption, paying attention to the social dimension of well-being, and assessing the need for changes based on a risk-averse perspective’ (Lorek & Fuchs 2013, p. 36). Thus, it subscribes to the increasing agreement that reduced consumption is vital to lower human impacts on Earth’s climate and ecosystems (e.g., Jackson 2016), while at the same time acknowledging that this needs to be combined with achieving good and adequate lives. How this can be achieved, however, is still an open question. The dominance of capitalism and economic growth are often foregrounded as the main reasons for lacking success in reducing energy and resource consumption (Wilhite 2016). This network explores ways in which Nordic researchers within SSH can contribute to defining an ecologically safe and socially just space wherein humans can lead good lives within natural, “planetary boundaries”.

By discussing the newest theoretical and methodological developments together with ongoing empirical studies in the field of consumption and sustainability, we aim to identify factors that are important for research and policy to advance strong sustainability in the future. The discussions and collaborations will evolve throughout a workshop series consisting of both digital and in-person sessions, taking place between April 2023 and December 2024.

The network is steered and organised by Carolin Zorell (Örebro University), Anne Bach Nielsen (University of Copenhagen), Marius Korsnes (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU), and Line Valdorff Madsen (Aalborg University, Copenhagen).

The workshop series