Sociology, science and sustainability: developing relationships in Scotland

Kirsty L. Blackstock, Elizabeth A. Kirk, Alison D. Reeves

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    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper considers the application of the sociological imagination during the analysis of data collected during an ethnographic study of an environmental regulator, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). SEPA is tasked with implementing the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) in Scotland, which will radically alter the regulation of water use. Applying a sociological imagination allowed the researcher to advocate for a more interdisciplinary and equitable understanding of sustainable water use when feeding back initial research results at the end of the data collection period. The researchers introduced socialised definitions of the environment, which linked social justice and ecological concerns. These insights provided a challenge to the traditional bio-physical science focus of the organisational participants, for whom sustainability is a relatively new addition to their duties. The paper concludes by discussing the importance of developing these interdisciplinary relationships in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSociological Research Online
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


    • Sociological imagination
    • Water Framework Directive
    • Sustainability science
    • Consumer-citizens
    • Scotland


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