Contested time horizons

Richard W. Stoffle, Brent W. Stoffle, Annelie Sjölander-Lindqvist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Adam (1998) uses social philosophy to analyze how and why these time and space assessment failures occur. She maintains that when assessments have minimal scope and variables this occurs because of strategic decisions by project proponents. Her analysis uses a concept called timescapes (Adam 2006, pp.143-145), which folds into an integrated sustainability assessment analysis the motives of scientists, project proponents, and government regulators when they chose to define minimal timescapes. Adam maintains that regulators, scientists, and proponents choose minimal timescapes in order to appear to be in control of time and space impacts, and thus assure others (especially the public and stakeholders) of their ability to predict and mitigate impacts. Instead of actually being able to better predict and control, however, Adam maintains that they actually mask their inability to do either. Timescapes are minimized in order to avoid grappling with outcomes that are increasingly unknown and potentially difficult to mitigate. This apparent increase in mastery of sustainability assessment variables and outcomes due to minimal timescapes is a rhetoric that has accompanied the emergence and spread of modern technological innovations like nuclear power and bioengineering (Adam 2006, p.146).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainability Assessment
Subtitle of host publicationPluralism, Practice and Progress
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781136283123
ISBN (Print)9780415598484
StatePublished - Sep 10 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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