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Reframing economic policy towards sustainability informed by an action research case study into aviation

McManners, P. (2017) Reframing economic policy towards sustainability informed by an action research case study into aviation. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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This research focused on the relationship between economic and environmental policy, identifying fault lines and investigating solutions. The research included both theoretical and empirical components, with the theoretical analysis informing the empirical research and vice versa. The theoretical component commenced with an examination at the interface between economic globalization and sustainability leading to reframing economic policy towards sustainability. This foundation was used to launch a vision for a sustainable world economy and a tentative policy framework capable of facilitating it. This proposed framework is termed ‘Proximization’ and relies on acceptance that sustainability should be overarching policy. For the empirical research, aviation was chosen as the particular sector because views are highly polarized making progress towards sustainable solutions particularly challenging. The methodology developed within the research was a novel approach combining the ethos of Action Research with case study analysis. It comprised 28 in-depth stakeholder interviews across a wide range from passengers and environmentalists to people in the aviation industry and government. The case study showed that applying the different mind-set developed in the conceptual analysis leads to identifying a solution even in this most difficult sector. The key finding of the research is that setting sustainability as the overarching policy objective facilitates the emergence of transformational solutions. This proved to be applicable in aviation and has considerable potential to be applied to other sectors. For ‘proximization’ to develop from an emerging concept to reality as an alternative framework for macroeconomic policy, would require pushing back against the policies that currently enable economic globalization, so might be contentious. More research is needed to apply the Action Research Case Study approach to other areas as well as to investigate further the merits of proximization to facilitate communities, countries and regions to find pathways to sustainability that suit their geography, culture and resources.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Boyd, E. and Musson, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:69962

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