Sánchez, A.F., Arroz, A.M. & Gabriel, R. (2021) Social representations about sustainable development: the perspectives of residents of small islands’ cities. Ambiente & Sociedade, 24, 1-24. DOI:10.1590/1809-4422asoc20180212r1vu2021L3AO.
Sustainable development (SD) is one of the goals of contemporary society, underlining the need of its collective redefinition and social and personal appropriation. For this, it is relevant to analyze how individuals understand the process of building sustainability. The social representation of the SD of an intentional sample of 64 stakeholders from five Azorean cities was explored through prototypical and similarity analysis of a free association of words. The data were analyzed using the programs Evocation 2003 and IRAMUTEQ and interpreted according to the structural approach of social representations. The resulting representation identifies the three classic pillars of the SD, as well as its main challenges and strategic options. The economic pillar held a central place, interconnecting both with the environmental and the social pillars, although the latter showed less emphasis. It is important to keep monitoring the evolution of this SD representation, that appears to be more sophisticated than other notions found in similar studies.