New paradigm for someones, or simple political - media slogan for others, sustentable development concept raises contradictory reactions in the scientific world. Notable differences exist in the approximation to sustentable development among the representers of natural sciences and those of human sciences.
The nomadic character of sustentable development concept (Stengers, 1987) is perceived by certain geography researchers as a real genetic tare, when on the contrary others think that it can use as lever to renew the geographical approximation to the big contemporary problems.
For geographical research, what attitude is suitable to adopt? Can sustentable development, as nomadic concept, turn into an effective and innovative tool? Or does semantic incertidumbre lead us in an inexorable way towards a drifting of ideas?
The central aim of this reflection is to try to place sustentable development concept in the orbit of the geographical thought, in a comparative optics with neighboring disciplines and questioning his interest for our disciplinary field investigation. For this reason, first of all it is necessary to approach the problems raised by this concept without taboo: must it be considered the conceptual nomadism of the sustentable development as a kind of original sin that would turn it into an inoperative instrument for the geography?
Secondly, demythologizing the apparent innovation of the concept, is convenient to analyze which are its filiations with the geography and other disciplines. And finally, to raise concrete cases of the concept use in the geographical investigation (sustentable city, sustentable forest), underlining contributions, but also putting to the light its limits