Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Voluntary University Sustainability Commitments: a Network in and of Transition
by Whitney, Mary Kathryn, Ph.D., Prescott College, 2014, 150; 3629879
Abstract (Summary)

In the absence of state and national governments leadership addressing climate change, cities and academic institutions have been taking the initiative to provide direction toward low-carbon transitions. From the U.S. Mayor's Climate Agreement, to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, voluntary agreements are the only U.S. initiatives to address climate change systematically over the last decade or more. These voluntary agreements constitute a social movement and innovation space, supported through networks of sustainability practice and research. The proliferation of these agreements, the increasing numbers of participating organizations, and a nascent market in businesses providing supporting resources to network members, points to an action space that is a form of transition niche, unusual in that it is not protected or supported at any higher level of governance. Using a combination of social constructivist methods of situational analysis and social network analysis, this dissertation describes and analyzes six purely voluntary university agreements and makes visible their complex interactions. It investigates these voluntary agreements and the universities that are working to transform their operations, practices and curriculums in a collaborative effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change and move toward sustainability. It demonstrates that these networks are part of a larger network of cognitive practice for sustainable low-carbon transitions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Amster, Randall
Commitee: Lowe, Allyson, Parajuli, Pramod, Sterrett, Susan
School: Prescott College
Department: Education / Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sustainability, Organizational behavior, Higher education
Keywords: Institutions, Interorganizational learning, Network analysis, Situational analysis, Transition niche, Voluntary agreements
Publication Number: 3629879
ISBN: 9781321072914
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