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On the Illusory Nature of Sustainable Development: A case study of a Montreal Suburb

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On the Illusory Nature of Sustainable Development: A case study of a Montreal Suburb

Graham, Peter (2010) On the Illusory Nature of Sustainable Development: A case study of a Montreal Suburb. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

An apparent paradox attaches to the concept of sustainable development: as general levels of education, technology, and scientific knowledge have increased, so has the ecological impact of humanity and the likelihood of large-scale anthropogenic catastrophe for human populations. This paradox can be at least partially explained as the result of perceptual and cognitive illusion. Human perception, cognition and meaning systems are always to some extent “inherited” as a path-dependent “traditionality”. This difference between the world “as it is” and “as we know it” creates an illusion and a false sense of impunity to act in the world.
Instrumental measures to implement sustainable development thus ignore important contextual information. Making this information perceptible, comprehensible and meaningful thus requires recognition and understanding of the functioning and consequent illusion inherent to the workings of the social mind. Such a learning exercise would seem inherently transformative and enabling of a more deliberative and democratic way of being in the world.
A specific suburban community, Pointe Claire, is examined as a case study to illustrate the illusion and suggest various potentially remedial pathways. A reflexive balance model is also proposed as a partial remediation for the illusion.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Graham, Peter
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Special Individualized Program
Date:23 March 2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Mendell, Marguerite
ID Code:6630
Deposited By:PETER GRAHAM
Deposited On:03 Nov 2010 08:41
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 18:27
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