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

Research output: Working paper


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Complex systems, Sustaianbility Science, Sweden, sugar
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusSubmitted - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSustainability Science