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This chapter introduces what the social sciences can offer to sanitation and the challenges that lay ahead of providing sustainable access to sanitation to billions of people in both the Western as well as the developing world. It outlines three social scientific perspectives to the sanitation challenge: that of socio-technical change, multi-level governance and consumer studies. The sanitation challenge is three fold: in the Western world the challenge is to initiate a transition from strongly centralized infrastructures towards flexible and sustainable forms, in the developing world to provide access to sanitation for the poor, while the challenge in both worlds is to move beyond traditional dichotomies between small and large, appropriate and modern technologies. Lastly the organization of this volume is explained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Perspective on the Sanitation Challenge
EditorsB.J.M. van Vliet, G. Spaargaren, P.J.M. Oosterveer
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages242
ISBN (Print)9789048137206
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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    van Vliet, B. J. M., Spaargaren, G., & Oosterveer, P. J. M. (2010). Introduction. In B. J. M. van Vliet, G. Spaargaren, & P. J. M. Oosterveer (Eds.), Social Perspective on the Sanitation Challenge (pp. 1-8). Dordrecht: Springer.