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Title: Making-sense of sustainability: seeking to enact modesty and humility in (re)searching
Author: Allen, Stephen Derek
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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The primary question that I am seeking to approach is, 'how can we consider sustainability?': 'consider' meaning both to contemplate and, to approach through social research. The two questions that have guided three phases of fieldwork are: 'how are managers holding views about sustainability?'; and, 'how are managers taking action?'. The first two phases of fieldwork involved interviewing managers in the energy and power industry. The third phase consisted of my participation in two different fieldwork spaces: a newly established community of private and public sector organisations, and a city council climate change strategy stakeholder consultation process. By drawing in epistemological sensibilities from Science and Technology Studies, I contribute through offering alternative research methods and practices for scholars in Organisation and Management Studies to consider sustainability by: performing writing practices which respect my reflexive and embodied approach; evolving conceptualisations of myself researching as a 'conduit'; enacting notions of humility and modesty through my methods; and, conducting' gatherings' to bring together disparate domains of literature about sustainability, and assemble my analysis of fieldwork. My interpretations of the first and second phases of fieldwork show: how tensions amongst the managers' sense-making manifest; and, how differing environmental discourses, to which their discursive patterns can be associated, collide and can collapse. In the third phase I describe how, when sustainability is performed: it struggles in the margins; it is depicted substantially by quantitative data; and, seems to be a troubling and inconvenient problem. From my PhD journey, I propose that sustainability challenges us to think differently. To approach this I suggest that scholars within OMS need to experiment with alternative reflexive and embodied research methods which offer more ambiguous knowledges. I argue that by nurturing a sense of humility and modesty researchers can help enable more inclusive and meaningful sustainabilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available