Profound societal transformations are needed to move society from unsustainability to greater sustainability under continually changing social and environmental conditions. A key challenge is to understand the influences on and the dynamics of collective behavior change toward sustainability. In this paper, the authors of whom Grit Martinez of Ecologic Institute is one, demonstrate how affective narrative expressions influence transitions to more sustainable collective behaviors.
The authors focus on narratives that express visions of desirable futures and narratives that reflect individual and social identities, on the cultures and contexts in which they are embedded, exchanged, and modified, and through which they influence the dynamics of social movements toward sustainability. Using an analytical categorization of narrative expressions of case studies in the Caribbean, Micronesia, and Africa, they describe insights derived from the narratives of vision and social identities in diverse communities. Finally, they suggest that narrative expressions may provide a basis for agent-based modeling to expand thinking about potential development pathways of social movements for sustainable futures.