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Creating Actionable Knowledge for Sustainability: A Case of “Standards in the Making”

Transforming the Rural

ISBN: 978-1-78714-824-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-823-9

Publication date: 30 June 2017


Social and environmental standards-development organizations (SDOs) have been collaborating together to construct “meta-standards.” These exercises in standards-setting are part of a longer term process of transitioning innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture from diverse niches such as organic, fair trade, and environmental conservation into a regime of certified sustainability. Using participant observation during the development of an Assurance Code, we examine how actors construct the tools that enable them to influence the broader transition to sustainability. We do this by focusing on intermediation activities by “experts” during the development of a “meta-standard” for assurance. The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, we propose that in order to understand transitions in progress, we should be attentive to how these processes are accompanied by intermediation activities. Second, we argue that intermediate objects (or boundary objects) are important in these processes as they help actors to create actionable knowledge. These intermediation activities and the production of actionable knowledge contribute to the ability of actors to govern markets in the transition toward sustainable agriculture.



Loconto, A. and Barbier, M. (2017), "Creating Actionable Knowledge for Sustainability: A Case of “Standards in the Making”", Transforming the Rural (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 24), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 115-133.



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