The Social Dimension of Sustainability. Towards a relational turning point

Valerio Corradi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In recent years, the importance of the social dimension in the sustainablefuture building process has been several times emphasized and reiterated in international encounters and at political level. Nevertheless, at strategic and operating level, we have continued to completely ignore the social implications of programmes and actions or attribute these to the mere technical-economic sphere within the ambit of assessments on the advantages and applicability of new technologies or organizational profiles. Considering such forms of “reductionism”, it appears crucial that we should once again place at centre the social dimension, in its essential connotation as relational space in which originate motivations and relations that bring social entities closer together and sustain them in their participation in common projects, initiatives and actions in favour of sustainable development. A concrete possibility of overcoming an over-simplified interpretation of the social and of truly promoting it is provided by theoretical approaches which focus on the topic of exchange and relation. Among these stands out the relational theory of society which, when applied in the environmental field, helps recognise the centrality of social bonds in actions and measures in favour of sustainability and, at social intervention level, helps grasp the original opportunities which lie in the new forms of sociality present in initiatives and experiences in favour of the environment. Recent contributions, of a theoretical and empirical nature, show the explicative capacity and practical usefulness of such an approach and pave the way towards the configuration of a possible and desirable relational turning point as regards sustainability studies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRio + 20. The Future We Want. Lectures
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Social Sustainability
  • Sostenibilità sociale


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