Nikos Nikisianis and Giorgos P. Stamou: "Sustainability for biodiversity" ... on the relation between ideology and science at the dominant discourse of contemporary evology
A frame of popular concepts, like conservation, management, natural limits and, specially, (bio)diversity and sustainability is dominating the scientific and social discourse of ecology. Although these concepts are recognized as scientific, ecologists note their shortfall of positive definition. On the other hand, these concepts have powerful social uses, bridging science with economy and politics. Epistemological theories about the relation between science and ideology suggest that this role may hint ideological metaphors.
Indeed, it can be shown that (bio)diversity, as a quantification of the constructed totality of natural qualities, is based on the dominance of exchange value in economy, transferring its function in the interior of science. Correspondingly, the metaphor of “natural capital” in the frame of sustainability is a direct reflection of the reproductive process of total social capital. More generally, theories around sustainability seem to share the same anthropological base with classic bourgeois political economy.
These concepts have a two-direction role: importing inside science dominant ideological positions and social demands and exporting them as scientific documented demands. It is supported that these directions are not independent. As a matter of fact, the ecological demand for sustainable development ultimately expresses the dominant social demand for reproduction of capital, or for economical development. Finally, the theory of ideology is used to examine how only some of these ideological concepts dominate their scientific/ideological field, determining all others. Upon this ground, ecology is perceived as a “science of biodiversity”, aiming at the “sustainability of natural wealth”.