Call for Papers Special Feature of Sustainability Science

Valuing Nature Porgramme

Call for Papers Special Feature of Sustainability Science
“Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability”

Editors: Chris Raymond, Jasper Kenter, Dave Kendal, Carena van Riper and Andrea Rawluk

Abstract submission deadline: March 16, 2018


The content and structure of social values has been an area of substantial scholarship in the social sciences over the past 60 years and is gaining increasing attention in conservation and sustainability literatures. The aim of this special feature is to present and critically evaluate theories, concepts, and methods to the assessment and application of social values in conservation and sustainability planning and management. It will be the first to present a holistic perspective of social values theory applicable to sustainability science problems on a continuum from transcendental to contextual values theory and applications.  This includes how to integrate values collected at different scales into international biodiversity assessments, how to address multiple aspects of ‘relationality’ when valuing ecosystem services, and how to align epistemology, research paradigm and research methods when applying value concepts.


The content and structure of social values has been an area of substantial scholarship in the social sciences over the past 60 years and has recently gained more attention in conservation and sustainability literatures (Hicks et al. 2016).  Scholars have explored basic human values, also referred to as held, core or transcendental values, which describe the abstract principles that guide people’s approaches to living in the world. Research has focused on assessing the universal content or structure of these basic values within and across cultures (often drawing on Schwartz 1994), and their influence on attitudes and environmental behavior (often building on Stern et al. 1999). Less frequently, these basic human values have been linked to ecosystems and their services in individual and group contexts (Hicks et al. 2016; Manfredo et al. 2016; Raymond et al., 2014; Raymond and Kenter 2016).

A contrasting approach focusses on the value ‘of’ things in the world. This has traditionally been the primary value domain within economics. In ecological economics, emphasis has increasingly been placed on assessing the social values assigned to place-based attributes and their consequences for management of sustainability problems (e.g. Hansjürgens et al. 2017; Kenter et al., 2016; Spash 2017). There has also been an explosion of interest in the mapping and non-monetary assessment of contextual or assigned values linked to the way individuals perceive people, places or things (Raymond et al. 2009; van Riper et al. 2012; Brown and Fagerholm 2014). Contributions also link transcendental and contextual values, as in the cases of relationality in narratives, lived values and value hierarchies (O’Neill et al. 2008; Manfredo et al. 2009; Ives and Kendal 2014; Kendal et al. 2015; Rawluk et al. 2017).

We now see a ‘third wave’ of value concepts responding to the need to recognize local and indigenous perspectives (Díaz et al. 2015), bridge instrumental and intrinsic values (Chan et al. 2012) and recognize the relational nature of social values (Chan et al. 2016; Kenter et al., 2015; Klain et al. 2017).  These relational value concepts have been integrated into the ‘nature’s contributions to people’ framework adopted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (Pascual et al. 2017). However, such frameworks are not fully grounded in the long history and broader context of social values theory development and application across multiple disciplines. For example, they do not clearly discuss their relation to transcendental and contextual values, call on earlier relational value concepts in environmental ethics (e.g., narrative values; O’Neill et al. 2008), or reference literature on value change and formation (e.g., Bardi and Goodwin, 2011) and value articulating institutions (e.g., Vatn, 2009).

In response, this special feature will be the first to present a holistic perspective of social values theory applicable to sustainability science problems on a continuum from transcendental to contextual theory and applications.  It will be of interest and benefit to the Sustainability Science readership given it will unlock a large body of literature on the concept of values and provide guidance on how to theorize and apply established social value concepts in current sustainability problems. This includes how to integrate values collected at different scales into international biodiversity assessments, address multiple aspects of ‘relationality’ when valuing ecosystem services, and align epistemology, research paradigm and research methods when applying value concepts.  It will build upon a recent special issue in Ecosystem Services (edited by Kenter, 2016) by offering theoretical and disciplinary depth from case examples with a global geographic scope.

Aims and Scope of Special Feature

This special feature (SF) aims to present and share diverse theoretical, conceptual and methodological traditions in social values for sustainability, as well as case applications relevant to sustainability science and management. The SF will contribute to enhanced understanding of relational dynamics in sustainability science, and contribute to advancing important post-2020 conservation agendas, including the interests of IPBES and the Convention of Biological Diversity.

 The SF will start with a group of papers representing different points on the transcendental-contextual values continuum. We welcome additional contributions on the following themes:

  • Interpretive approaches to exploring social values, relations and sustainability (e.g., hermeneutic, discursive, dialogical and phenomenological approaches);
  • Theories that underpin research on the relationships between values, sense of place and sustainability;
  • Comparison of different meta-theories of social values and their applicability to sustainability planning and management;
  • Cross-cultural comparisons of social values for sustainability;
  • Assessment of value shifts relevant to sustainability planning and management;
  • Novel approaches for understanding the theoretical intersections between relational values and social values and their collective contribution to sustainability science scholarship;
  • Political and institutional dimensions of social values in relation to sustainability.

Special Feature Editors

  • Christopher M. Raymond, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (lead editor)
  • Jasper Kenter, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Dave Kendal, Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania
  • Carena van Riper, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois
  • Andrea Rawluk, Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne

Deadlines, Submission, and Review Process

Authors are encouraged to submit extended abstracts (maximum 500 words) to the editors of the SF. Upon acceptance, authors will be invited to submit full-length manuscripts to the editorial team at  We will then hold a workshop to ensure coherent use of terms across papers.  Authors will then be invited to submit full-length manuscripts through the journal’s electronic editorial management (EM) system, keeping in mind publisher formatting guidelines and length requirements. At this point, authors should state if they are submitting their work to be considered for the “Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability” SF. Papers will go through a blind review process.

Author’s Guidelines:

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • March 16, 2018: submission of extended abstracts (maximum 500 words) to editorial team:
  • June 8, 2018: Submissions of full papers to the editorial team:
  • June 26-27, 2018: Social values workshop in the UK to ensure coherent use of terms and to build the social values international network. This workshop (including costs for travel arrangements) will be supported by the UK Valuing Nature Programme. It is expected that one author from each paper will attend this workshop. Further details to be advised upon abstract acceptance.
  • July 27, 2018: submission of revised papers through Sustainability Science editorial management system. For submission through the EM system, please register in EM system (link below) and submit your article selecting the SF title. You can see an author tutorial on right side of the registration page. Please tag your submission with the SF tag “Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability”.
  • Autumn 2019: expected publication of the SF.

For any questions do not hesitate to contact Dr Jasper Kenter at


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2 Responses

  1. Dear All,

    There is a small error on this site. The final date for abstract submission is March 16, 2018. We are in the process of getting this fixed. Best wishes, Chris


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