Matter, meaning and making: a contextual approach to sustainable development



The term sustainable development is often criticized for having lost credibility due to a lack of clear-cut delineation. This contribution agrees that the term suffers from a want of meaning, but argues that the persistent hunt for a definition -i.e. a fixed generic description- produces rather than resolves this deficit. Since employing such abstraction seems to remove and disengage people from the issue, this contribution explores ways in which communities yield their own, context and time specific interpretations of sustainable development. To do so it proposes a process informed by the arts.  Drawing from dialogic practices, site-specific theater and a project conducted in a Cornish village by the author herself, this writing discusses elements that constitute a process of ‘context-based meaning finding’.


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