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Sustainability Workshop Poster
Sustainability as a Problem of Complexity: Past, Present and Future of Sustainability Science in the Anthropocene

Popular ideas about sustainability are still largely guided by a techno-scientific ideal of control, even though limits and difficulties of this ideal have been obvious for some time. Often fueled by alarmist scenarios of destruction, the remnants of a techno-scientific ideal of control threaten to undermine the very notion of sustainability as well as our attempts to initiate and foster transformations towards more desirable and just futures. Alternatives to a techno-scientific illusion, such as co-evolutionary processes within complex adaptive systems or participatory transdisciplinary conceptions of sustainability have emerged, but have yet to gain wider acceptance outside of specific academic discourses.

This workshop places current ideas about sustainability and related transformations in the context of interlinked histories of techno-science, cybernetics, complex systems theory and sustainability science. Participants will focus on detailed historical analyses of case studies, assessment of current trends and discourses, and envisioning of future ones. A main focus will be on the shifting conceptual frameworks and on the role of modeling strategies (especially complex systems models) for sustainability transformations.