A Knowledge Ecology of Urban Australian Household Water Consumption
AbstractDespite urban water providers’ commitments to ideas of ‘triple bottom line’ sustainability, insights from humanities and social science research are still not well articulated into Australian water policy and practice, which remains dominated by a positivist epistemology that tries to ‘integrate’ multiple knowledges into its singular objective rationality. Arguing that ‘integration’ suppresses what is most valuable about Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) contributions, this paper outlines a post-positivist ‘knowledge ecology’ framework in which scientific and quantitative knowledges are among the diverse ways of knowing valued for helping to understand, represent and change a reality that includes a variety of knowers and standpoints. This framework is used to identify and discuss some key features of the knowledge ecology of Australian urban household water consumption, where interpretive and qualitative research is creating a modest niche and contributing to development of more socially sustainable and culturally intelligent approaches to urban water management.
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