‘To sustain’ is commonly defined as to maintain and to keep in existence, to support or to affirm, suggesting maintenance of the status quo. Yet in recent discourse sustainability has come to suggest a utopian or dystopian vision for radical change in both culture and politics. In light of this, theoretical and practical reflection is required on how sustainability should be understood, what kind of knowledge it presupposes, what claims to authority it implies and in which relation it stands to other goals or values.
Although the concept of sustainability is usually associated with ecological issues, this research programme broadens its implications by investigating sustainability in the social, political and cultural domains currently being reshaped by processes of globalisation. By employing a raft of cultural and theoretical explorations, the programme aims at focusing research that theorises the conditions for survival and duration in culture and politics, and their many intersections. The overarching aim is to investigate competing definitions of sustainability in an international, interdisciplinary setting.