The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology


The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology

9781847207821 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Frank Boons, Professor of Innovation and Sustainability, University of Manchester and Sustainable Consumption Institute and Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge,UK
Publication Date: 2009 ISBN: 978 1 84720 782 1 Extent: 304 pp
Most work on industrial ecology continues to emphasize its roots in engineering and the technological sciences. This book differs in that it explores the social context of industrial ecology and presents empirical work addressing how cognitive, cultural, political and structural mechanisms condition the emergence and operation of industrial ecology. The empirical chapters are written from various social science perspectives and the editors have also invited reflective commentaries by authors with cross-disciplinary experiences.

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From its inception, the field of industrial ecology has taken a distinctly technological approach to understanding and improving ecological consequences of industrial activities. Increasingly however, scholars and practitioners are developing perspectives on the social embeddedness of industrial ecology: the ways in which material and energy flows in regions and product chains are shaped by the social context in which they occur. This book presents empirical work addressing how cognitive, cultural, political and structural mechanisms condition the emergence and operation of industrial ecology. Further exploring such mechanisms holds promise for
understanding both the barriers to, and opportunities for, altering the ecological impacts of industrial practice.

Through contemplative chapters and ‘intermezzos’, authors with different disciplinary backgrounds reflect on the contribution of work from various social sciences to industrial ecology. Unique to the volume, the authors of the commentaries bring in their personal and professional experiences, reflecting on how they have engaged in or have seen the value in cross-disciplinary work. They also include discussion explicitly on the dialogue and its value to the evolution of the field. In these ways, the book develops the dialogue between social science contributors and researchers from other disciplines within the field of industrial ecology.

Scholars and students involved in the study of industrial ecology and related fields as well as practising managers and those involved in facilitating industrial ecology projects around the world will find this engaging and comprehensive volume indispensable.
Contributors: W.S. Ashton, H. Baumann, C.R. Binder, F. Boons, M.R. Chertow, A. Chiu, J. Ehrenfeld, D. Gibbs, J. Hall, J. Howard-Grenville, T.M. Koponen, Y. Liu, S. Matos, C. Mitchell, R. Morana, R. Paquin, S. Seuring, B. van Hoof


1. Introducing the Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology
Frank Boons and Jennifer Howard-Grenville

2. Ecology in the Social Sciences: An Overview
Frank Boons

3. Don’t Fence Me In…
Henrikke Baumann

First intermezzo Out Into the Open: The Promise of Dialogue
Frank Boons

4. Eco-industrial Parks and Industrial Ecology: Strategic Niche or Mainstream Development?
David Gibbs

5. Facilitating Regional Industrial Symbiosis: Network Growth in the UK’s National Industrial Symbiosis Programme
Raymond Paquin and Jennifer Howard-Grenville

6. The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Symbiosis Linkages in Puerto Rican Industrial Regions
Marian R. Chertow and Weslynne S. Ashton

Second Intermezzo A Transdisciplinary Perspective on Industrial Ecology Research
Cynthia Mitchell

Third Intermezzo Regional Eco-industrial Development: Views from Different Stakeholders
Anthony Chiu

7. Transgenic Crops in Brazil: Scientific Decision-making for Social Ambiguities?
Jeremy Hall and Stelvia Matos

8. Commodities, their Life-Cycle and Industrial Ecology
Timothy M. Koponen

9. Sustainable Supply Chain Management
Stefan Seuring, Romy Morana and Yan Liu

Fourth Intermezzo Product Chain Management and Social Sciences: Path Dependency, Cultural Validity and Short- and Long-term Feedback Loops
Claudia R. Binder

Fifth Intermezzo The Exchange of Ideas between Social Science and Engineering Approaches to Product Chain Industrial Ecology
Bart van Hoof

10. A Critical View on the Social Science Contribution to Industrial Ecology
John Ehrenfeld

11. The Social Embeddedness of Industrial Ecology: Exploring the Dynamics of Industrial Ecosystems
Jennifer Howard-Grenville and Frank Boons

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