for sustainable development


Recommended reading: gender & environment in social-ecological research

Environmental and sustainability issues have a lot in common with questions concerning gender equality: Women and men often perceive environmental changes differently, in many cases they are not equally involved their causation and are effected by environmental pollution in different ways. Mostly, their potential to influence environmental policy decisions also differs. At ISOE – Institute for social-ecological research, the interaction between gender relations and environment has been investigated since its foundation. In the recently published compendium “Gender and Environment” a comprehensive English overview of ISOE’s social-ecological approach towards gender research can be found for the first time.

Cover Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment

Based on feminist environmental research, conceptional approaches for basic and application-oriented research on gender & environment have been developed at ISOE since the institute’s foundation in 1989. Research on gender aspects has been further specified in individual research projects and publications. For their article in the Routledge Handbook “Gender and Evironment”, Diana Hummel and Immanuel Stieß from ISOE have now described the approach of social-ecological research that is geared towards the analysis of problems at the interface of nature and society.

The key question of social ecology is: How can the critical relations between society and nature be recognized, understood and shaped? Which relational patterns between society and nature are causing social-ecological problems and which role do gender relations play in this context? The social-ecological approach is viewing gender relations as an inter- and transdisciplinary category and takes their influence on everyday actions and conditions of shaping options into account. The analysis of gender-specific dimensions enables a better understanding for example of those consumption practices and decision patterns that support or impede sustainability.

Sustainable development from the perspective of gender research

The book contribution “Social ecology: a transdisciplinary approach to gender and environment research“ by Diana Hummel and Immanuel Stieß describes the transdisciplinary research approach and important theoretical and methodological questions of Social Ecology with respect to the importance of the gender category. Since most research findings on this topic have so far only been published in German, their book chapter now offers access to this approach for the English speaking reader. Hummel and Stieß explain in what ways the gender perspective can be taken into consideration in research practice and offer three examples from the fields of food consumption, energy consumption and waste. “With these examples we want to show how transdisciplinary social-ecological research can be operationalized in the field of “gender and environment” and how policy-relevant knowledge can thus be generated”, says ISOE’s scientist Diana Hummel. The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment gathers together historical summaries, critical analyses and empirical research result of leading researchers from gender research and offers recommendations for action with respect to sustainable Development.

Hummel, Diana/Immanuel Stieß (2017): Social ecology: a transdisciplinary approach to gender and environment research. In: MacGregor, Sherilyn (Ed.): Routledge Handbook on Gender and Environment. London/New York: Routledge, 186-201



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