Inderscience Publishers

Industrial ecology as mediator and negotiator between ecology and industrial sustainability

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This article discusses hybrid theory development efforts within industrial ecology. The framework is Latour's (1988) Prince metaphor, which he expanded to describe machines and machinations, technology and society. Technology including industrial ecology is regarded here as mediator between nature and society. Aspects on standard ecology and principles for ecosystem thinking as background for our knowledge of natural environment are discussed, in particular the novel understanding of transformation in human and natural systems by means of panarchy and adaptive cycles. Adaptive cycles are also considered as mediation between nature and society. However, natural, scientific or biological ecology are difficult to use directly as a platform for environmental management. A diversification of ecology into soft, practical and hard ecology facilitates the understanding of the relationship between scientific ecology and industrial ecology. Combining both in a model may emerge illustrating the construction of industrial ecology and sustainable production and consumption society and showing the dynamics between nature and society.

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