Skip to main content Accessibility help
    • You have access
    • Open access
  • Cited by 10
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2019
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - SA
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

Book description

In this book, Sander Van der Leeuw examines how the modern world has been caught in a socio-economic dynamic that has generated the conundrum of sustainability. Combining the methods of social science and complex systems science, he explores how western, developed nations have globalized their world view and how that view has led to the sustainability challenges we are now facing. Its central theme is the co-evolution of cognition, demography, social organization, technology and environmental impact. Beginning with the earliest human societies, Van der Leeuw links the distant past with the present in order to demonstrate how the information and communications technology revolution is undermining many of the institutional pillars on which contemporary societies have been constructed. An original view of social evolution as the history of human information-processing, his book shows how the past offers insight into the present, and can help us deal with the future. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘… an unequivocally masterful and absolutely brilliant description of dynamically complex and correlated cultural milieus and environmental systems as a cautionary tale for the ages.’

R. G. Mendoza Source: Choice

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Full book PDF

Page 1 of 2

  • Social Sustainability, Past and Future
    pp i-i
  • New Directions in Sustainability and Society - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-v
  • Contents
    pp vii-xii
  • Note on the Cover Art
    pp vi-vi
  • Preface
    pp xiii-xvi
  • 1 - How This Book Came About, What It Is, and What It Is Not
    pp 3-14
  • 5 - The Importance of a Long-Term Perspective
    pp 67-78
  • 6 - Looking Forward to the Future
    pp 79-99
  • 7 - The Role of the Complex (Adaptive) Systems Approach
    pp 100-118
  • Part I
    pp 1-118
  • 8 - An Outline of Human Socioenvironmental Coevolution
    pp 121-143
  • 9 - Social Systems as Self-Organizing, Dissipative Information-Flow Structures
    pp 144-156
  • 2 - Defining the Challenge
    pp 15-29
  • 3 - Science and Society
    pp 30-49
  • 4 - Transdisciplinary For and Against
    pp 50-66
  • 12 - Novelty, Invention, Change
    pp 213-236
  • 14 - Modeling the Dynamics of Socioenvironmental Transitions
    pp 263-284
  • Part II
    pp 119-284
  • 15 - The Rise of the West as a Globally Powered Flow Structure
    pp 287-303
  • 17 - Not an Ordinary Tipping Point
    pp 339-361
  • 10 - Solutions Always Cause Problems
    pp 157-179
  • 11 - Transitions in the Organization of Human Societies
    pp 180-212
  • 19 - Is There a Way Out?
    pp 389-409
  • 20 - “Green Growth”?
    pp 410-442
  • Bibliography
    pp 464-492
  • Part III
    pp 285-463

Page 1 of 2


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.