Abstract From 4S Conference_Waste Disposal


Re-configuring relationships and practice for sustainable change Virginia Baker, ESR Institute of Environmental Science & Research Ltd; James Ataria, NZ

Transdisciplinary approaches explicitly orient science to support ‘real-world’ challenges and change for sustainability. Yet, globally and locally, the scale and impacts of the ‘wicked problems’ confronting us continue to increase. In practice, success can be limited and fraught with challenges arising from power relations and values embedded in western science-policy settings. For example, whilst project teams may embrace a transdisciplinary orientation, the wider institutional settings for science, policy, community engagement and environmental education tend to harbour linear and instrumentalist trajectories. Knowledge uptake, new technological fixes, economic rationalism, consumer choice and behaviour change models remain as latent but firm defaults. This paper examines strategies for social scientists to negotiate the challenges of building transformative change at the intersection of old and new science research paradigms.  Our insights from ongoing transdisciplinary research to reduce the impacts of human-generated waste on the environment highlight the centrality of indigenous partners and worldviews in anchoring conversations and building trajectories for sustainable change. Aotearoa/New Zealand’s post-Treaty settlement socio-political landscape offers very different power-bases from which to galvanise change, as well as strong dialogic processes for knowledge building, sharing and collective learning. Multi-stakeholder planning, systems thinking, systemic intervention, STS and social practice theory are useful transdisciplinary tools for coinquiry and knowledge co-creation.  Negotiated within indigenous partnerships, these collaborative planning approaches help coalesce tactical alliances, shared goals, values and priorities for multi-scaled, multi-pronged sustainable solutions. Importantly indigenous partnerships, processes and understandings are fundamental in anchoring deeper reflective practice and re-working paradigms and possibilities for meaningful sustainable change.


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Contributed date

January 30, 2019 - 9:39pm

Critical Commentary

This is one of the abstracts from the 4S conference 2018 held in Sydney. I am collating these abstracts per my interest to understand and get an overview of governance, policies, stakeholders, practices and challenges in municipal waste disposal.


Virginia Baker



Cite as

Virginia Baker, "Abstract From 4S Conference_Waste Disposal", contributed by Aarti Latkar, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 3 March 2019, accessed 8 August 2022. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/abstract-4s-conferencewaste-disposal