A feminist ethos for caring knowledge production in transdisciplinary sustainability science

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science has emerged as a viable answer to current sustainability crises with the aim to strengthen collaborative knowledge production. To expand its transformative potential, we argue that Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science needs to thoroughly engage with questions of unequal power relations and hierarchical scientific constructs. Drawing on the work of the feminist philosopher María Puig de la Bellacasa, we examine a feminist ethos of care which might provide useful guidance for sustainability researchers who are interested in generating critical-emancipatory knowledge. A feminist ethos of care is constituted by three interrelated modes of knowledge production: (1) thinking-with, (2) dissenting-within and (3) thinking-for. These modes of thinking and knowing enrich knowledge co-production in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science by (i) embracing relational ontologies, (ii) relating to the ‘other than human’, (iii) cultivating caring academic cultures, (iv) taking care of non-academic research partners, (v) engaging with conflict and difference, (vi) interrogating positionalities and power relations through reflexivity, (vii) building upon marginalised knowledges via feminist standpoints and (viii) countering epistemic violence within and beyond academia. With our paper, we aim to make a specific feminist contribution to the field of Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science and emphasise its potentials to advance this field.
ZeitschriftSustainability Science
Seiten (von - bis)45-63
Anzahl der Seiten19
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.01.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the insightful comments by two reviewers, as well as Aleksandra Kosanic’s work on disabilities and global environmental change and her comments throughout the main text that have inspired us to expand further on this minority group. Moreover, by intentionally citing many diverse women scholars in our paper, we disrupt hegemonic citation politics and highlight the transformative character of neglected female contributions to caring forms of knowledge production. This action can be an example of implementing a feminist ethos of care for Transdisciplinary Sustainability Science. “Citation is how we acknowledge our debt to those who came before; those who helped us find our way when the way was obscured because we deviated from the paths we were told to follow.” (Ahmed 2017 : 15).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).