Sustainable Change in a Fractured World
Bryan Norton’s body of work—with its focus on public deliberation, appropriate and fair procedures for decision-making, and epistemological humility—offers a pathway to sustainable change in the context of social diversity and scientific uncertainty. Working towards sustainable change amidst the degree of political and social divisiveness we are seeing today, however, may call for additional levels of sensitivity: to the way problems and publics are constructed, and to one’s own embeddedness within the complex dynamics that comprise a problem’s context. When fractures are substantial, it may be unrealistic and even unproductive to assume that deliberative efforts will yield a unified notion of the public interest. In such cases, the challenge for leaders and facilitators is to identify opportunities for the protection of shared values, and to establish democratic spaces that allow conflicts to be engaged in ways that do not require the destruction or domination of adversaries.
KeywordsPolarization Uncertainty Leadership Sustainability Ethics
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