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Loving the mess: navigating diversity and conflict in social values for sustainability

Kenter, Jasper O.; M. Raymond, Christopher; Van Riper, Carena J.; Azzopardi, Elaine; Brear, Michelle R.; Calcagni, Fulvia; Christie, Ian; Christie, Michael; Fordham, Anne; Gould, Rachelle K; Ives, Christopher D.; P. Hejnowicz, Adam; Gunton, Richard; Horcea-Milcu, Andra-Ioana; Kendal, Dave; Kronenberg, Jakub; Massenberg, Julian R.; O'Connor, Seb; Ravenscroft, Neil; Rawluk, Andrea; Raymond, Ivan J.; Rodríguez-Morales, Jorge; Thankappan, Samarthia


Jasper O. Kenter

Christopher M. Raymond

Carena J. Van Riper

Elaine Azzopardi

Michelle R. Brear

Fulvia Calcagni

Ian Christie

Michael Christie

Anne Fordham

Rachelle K Gould

Assistant Professor

Adam P. Hejnowicz

Richard Gunton

Andra-Ioana Horcea-Milcu

Dave Kendal

Jakub Kronenberg

Julian R. Massenberg

Seb O'Connor

Neil Ravenscroft

Andrea Rawluk

Ivan J. Raymond

Jorge Rodríguez-Morales

Samarthia Thankappan


This paper concludes a special feature of Sustainability Science that explores a broad range of social value theoretical traditions , such as religious studies, social psychology, indigenous knowledge, economics, sociology, and philosophy. We introduce a novel transdisciplinary conceptual framework that revolves around concepts of 'lenses' and 'tensions' to help navigate value diversity. First, we consider the notion of lenses: perspectives on value and valuation along diverse dimensions that describe what values focus on, how their sociality is envisioned, and what epistemic and procedural assumptions are made. We characterise fourteen of such dimensions. This provides a foundation for exploration of seven areas of tension, between: (1) the values of individuals vs collectives; (2) values as discrete and held vs embedded and constructed; (3) value as static or changeable; (4) valuation as descriptive vs normative and transformative; (5) social vs relational values; (6) different rationalities and their relation to value integration; (7) degrees of acknowledgment of the role of power in navigating value conflicts. In doing so, we embrace the 'mess' of diversity, yet also provide a framework to organise this mess and support and encourage active transdisciplinary collaboration. We identify key research areas where such collaborations can be harnessed for sustainability transformation. Here it is crucial to understand how certain social value lenses are privileged over others and build capacity in decision-making for understanding and drawing on multiple value, epistemic and procedural lenses.


Kenter, J. O., M. Raymond, C., Van Riper, C. J., Azzopardi, E., Brear, M. R., Calcagni, F., …Thankappan, S. (2019). Loving the mess: navigating diversity and conflict in social values for sustainability. Sustainability Science, 14(5), 1439-1461.

Journal Article Type Commentary
Acceptance Date Aug 9, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 24, 2019
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 30, 2019
Print ISSN 1862-4065
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 5
Pages 1439-1461
Public URL
Publisher URL


Loving the mess: navigating diversity and conflict in social values for sustainability (2.3 Mb)

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