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Sustainability and the Civil Commons

Sustainability and the Civil Commons: Rural Communities in the Age of Globalization

Jennifer Sumner
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 180
  • Book Info
    Sustainability and the Civil Commons
    Book Description:

    Sustainability and the Civil Commonsmoves beyond rural roots to build a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that combines global reach with local focus.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8484-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-13)

    Logging and land conversion to accommodate human demand have shrunk the world’s forests by half and are now proceeding at over 130,000 square kilometres per year. More than 300 million people live on less than a dollar a day and that number is set to rise to 420 million over the next fifteen years. Three hundred of the world’s transnational corporations together constitute a quarter of the world’s productive assets, a number of them larger in wealth than the majority of nation states.²

    With statistics like these, it is little wonder thesustainabilityhas become an issue of immense importance...

  5. 1 The Age of Globalization
    (pp. 14-29)

    Both sustainability and rural communities could be added to the endangered species list – victims of global forces that become stronger every day. Sustainability suffers from vagueness, overuse, and co-option, while rural communities struggle under the impacts of worldwide changes such as restructuring and migration. We are living in an era when money values dictate that many people and the communities they live in are increasingly dispensable, while at the same time life values bring people and communities together through a shared ground of mutual commitment. Welcome to the age of globalization.

    This chapter will investigate the meaning of globalization, tracing...

  6. 2 Rural Reckoning: The Impacts of Corporate Globalization on Rural Communities
    (pp. 30-58)

    Corporate globalization is a worldwide phenomenon that has rapidly come to affect the lives of many people – rich and poor, women and men, urban and rural. Its impact is felt not only at the level of the nation state, but in communities and households as well. While some hail its arrival, others fear its totalitarian rule. Working from an interdisciplinary range of research studies that span a twenty-year period, this chapter will outline the economic, political, social, environmental, gendered, and cultural effects of corporate globalization on rural communities. The evidence clearly indicates that corporate globalization has had devastating consequences for...

  7. 3 Strategies for Sustainability: Building a Theory for Practice
    (pp. 59-75)

    This book can be seen as an effort to restructure current social reality. The Introduction lays the groundwork for a vision of the future that is more inclusive than our current situation, and the first two chapters provide an understanding of the existing context in which rural communities are increasingly forced to operate. This chapter adds the third dimension to the search for sustainability: a strategy for getting to a future that ensures individual and community well-being. This strategy involves building a theoretical model based on three concepts: (1) hegemony, (2) communicative action, and (3) the life code of value...

  8. 4 Searching for Sustainability: Past and Present
    (pp. 76-92)

    A popular term,sustainabilityhas become one of those motherhood concepts that is hard to oppose, but difficult to pin down. Its very popularity hides the contradictions surrounding its use, hampering a clear understanding of the term. This chapter will expose these contradictions through an investigation of the idea of sustainability, its use as a concept, its history, and its definitions. These definitions will be analysed using the theoretical model to ascertain whether they can contribute to the search for sustainability.

    Although the termsustainablehas been in use in the English language since 1920, the word sustainability is fairly...

  9. 5 Searching for Sustainability: Future
    (pp. 93-115)

    This chapter changes the elementary terms of the discussion by putting another vision of sustainability on the table, one that involves neither greater consumption nor a lifelong global celery diet. Using the optimum area of the theoretical model as a springboard for a new understanding of sustainability, this vision will be founded on life values, dialogue, and a counter-hegemonic relationship to structures of power. This new understanding of sustainability, allied with the cooperative human construct of the civil commons, depends on feedback, evolves through negotiation, adapts to change, includes social learning, encompasses reflexivity, builds resilience, recognizes diversity, respects equity, encourages...

  10. 6 New Directions for Research
    (pp. 116-132)

    A new understanding of sustainability that involves a set of structures and processes that build the civil commons provides a firm foundation for looking at some familiar terms from a fresh perspective. Giving new meaning to the mother concept of sustainability opens up the opportunity to look at some of the offspring of this fundamental idea and see what they could become in the age of globalization. This chapter will examine two familiar compound terms,sustainable developmentandsustainable rural community, and explore what they could mean when considered in light of a new understanding of sustainability. It will also...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 133-152)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-174)
  13. Index
    (pp. 175-179)