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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 4, Issue 2, Fall 2012

Małgorzata A. Dereniowska
Pages 25-62
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.4.2.25

Contested Concept of Sustainability
A Consumer Society and Dialectic of Human Desire

This article argues that sustainability is essentially a contested concept that not only cannot be sufficiently defined in a one-forall blueprint, but requires a new mode of self-actualization of human potential in dialogical, cooperative learning processes. Inherent aporias and their ethical implications are illustrated by an analysis of the mainstream interpretation of the sustainability concept in the context of the relationship between the logic of accumulation and improvement and insatiable human desires as off-springs of a deeper ontological transformation of modernity. A philosophical account of technology and modern science will be introduced in order to investigate overconsumption driven by mimetic desires and the transformative and dialectic dynamics of desire. A contemplative learning model is suggested as a useful basis for a reasonable interpretation of the sustainability concept.

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