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Barry Ness

Barry Ness

Senior Lecturer, Docent

Barry Ness

Structuring Complexity in Sustainability Science with the Multilevel DPSIR Framework: the Case of the Swedish Sugar System


  • Barry Ness
  • Stefan Anderberg
  • Lennart Olsson

Summary, in English

Sustainability science needs new methods which allow integration of knowledge across disciplines and scales. This paper suggests an approach to conceptualize problems of unsustainability by embedding the Drivers-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) scheme within a multilevel institutional framework represented by Torsten Hägerstrand’s system of nested domains. The proposed taxonomy assists to decipher and understand the key casual chains and societal responses at the appropriate spatial levels for particular sustainability problem areas. To illustrate the scheme more concretely a sampling of problems of unsustainability from the case of the sugar production system in Sweden is used. The discussion focuses on how the scheme fulfills the four research strategy requirements within the field of sustainability science.


  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year





Sustainability Science

Document type

Working paper


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Complex systems
  • Sustaianbility Science
  • Sweden
  • sugar