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Even under globalised living conditions human beings spend their everyday life embodied and physical in a concrete local contexts. Physicality as a existential representation of living nature as well as spaces creating options for experience and conditions for action are closely interrelated.

Strengthening the potentials for participation of citizens in social processes creates prospects for a new acquisition of information and political performance in the sense of care and attention for the own social space, the perception of other cultures and the way of utilisation of existential common goods. Under this perspective, in my opinion a central challenge in research for the implementation of the paradigm of sustainability into society is the identification and tracking down of discursive elements of environmental and socio-economical processes to the level of the region.


"Being deeply rooted is perhaps the most important but also most ignored need of the human soul."
(Simone Weil, 1943)

The variety of social forms of living is not necessarily the problem of a new unclearness. This situation rather reveals the complexity of the claims and postulations of citizens and institutions in dealing with an increasing diversity and the wishes of following new paths.

The commitment of human beings to a respective own local space, the development of their political liberty and perspectives of life as well as the creation of common rules for broad participation in social political life touch the personal change of values and democratic acceptance. This is especially under different perceptions of the "locality" and the own region as:

  • culture- and knowledge space
  • space of work and economy
  • space for political performance
  • environmental space


"Objectivity and subjectivity are both essential moments of the process of cognition."
(Elisabeth List, Die Präsenz des Anderen, 1993)

Policy in plural democratic societies is not exclusively rational but also emotional. The search for conflict resolutions is accompanied by ardencies, the willingness for listening, equity interests, trust, identities, controversies etc.

As the implementation of the paradigm of sustainability implicates equal chances for the participation and education of all citizens, economical, ecological and societal conflicts on local level can be constructively taken up as discursive dimensions for the development of a community. Processes of change can have their starting point in the question on how communities use and administer their own resources and potentials in a precautionary manner. This touches:

  • The protection of the resources and the stabilization of biodiversity
  • The acknowledgement of individual capabilities of the people, information and participation of the citizens in regional processes
  • The improvement of the quality of the environment and of the supply services in connection with structural transformation


"In dialogue orientated and through symbolic expression imparted structures identification does not lead to a merger of differences. Identification rather becomes a basis for the understanding of the position of others."
(Jessica Benjamin, Der Schatten des Anderen, Intersubjektivität, Gender, Psychoanalyse, 2002)

For the countries and regions of the European Union the task arises to re-define their role within the bounds of European declarations and their various environmental, societal and economical policies. Following the actual policy debates, regulation _ under terms of sustainability _ demands flexibility for new co-operative policy and planning strategies with the support and strengthening of regional ecological and social identities and innovative abilities.

This regulatory demand is of crucial importance for the evolution of the wish for policy making of civil society and the protection of the natural resources. In this sense, region understood as a "level of synthesis" means the acknowledgement of the specific role of the region for:

  • ecological sustainability
  • social and cultural sustainability
  • the implementation of economical sustainability