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Journal Article

Vision, identity, and collective behavior change on pathways to sustainable futures


Chabay,  Ilan
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Chabay, I. (2020): Vision, identity, and collective behavior change on pathways to sustainable futures. - Evolutionary and institutional economics review, 17, 1, 151-165.

Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_4812907
The challenge facing humanity is to live sustainably within both the ecological and physical limits of our planet and the societal boundaries needed for social cohesion and well-being. This is fundamentally a societal issue, rather than primarily an environmental problem amenable to technological optimization. Implementing the global aspirations embodied in the sustainable development goals of the United Nations will require societal transformation largely through collective behavior change at multiple geographic scales and governance levels across the world. Narrative expressions of visions of sustainable futures and narrative expressions of identity provide important, but underutilized insights for understanding affordances and obstacles to collective behavior change. Analyzing affective narrative expressions circulating in various communities seeking to implement aspects of sustainability opens up the opportunity to test whether affectively prioritized agent-based models can lead to novel emergent dynamics of social movements seeking sustainable futures. Certain types of playful games also offer the means to observe collective behaviors, as well as providing boundary objects and learning environments to facilitate dialogs among diverse stakeholders. Games can be designed to stimulate learning throughout the life span, which builds capacity for continuing innovation for the well-being of societies in moving toward sustainable futures.