"Sustainability State” in the Making? Institutionalization of Sustainability in German Federal Policy Making

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


More than two decades after the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1992, sustainable development remains a big challenge. Politics and administration, especially in democratic societies, have a specific responsibility in coordinating sustainable development. In order to fulfill this role, the regulative idea of sustainability needs to be integrated into decision-making in politics and administration at all levels, from local to global. Taking this into account, we have analyzed the institutionalization of sustainability as a crosscutting and long-term challenge at the federal level in Germany. Based on a theoretical-conceptual framework deriving from democracy, bureaucracy and political steering/governance theory, we have employed qualitative methods to understand, in depth, how sustainability is integrated into political-administrative practice. In the present paper, we present key results and show that sustainability is not a routine practice at the federal level in Germany. We will conclude by giving an outlook on the structural and procedural options and argue for the need to develop a “sustainability state”.
Seiten (von - bis)2623-2641
Anzahl der Seiten19
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 05.05.2014