What is meant by the politics of sustainability transitions?

The latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning is a special issue on “The Politics of Transition” (link). In the introductory essay the special issue editors argue that sustainability transitions “involve politics in the broadest sense of the word”. They cite a broad conceptualisation of politics – proposed by Adrian Leftwich in …

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Some reflections on IST 2016

The International Sustainability Transitions conference (the annual conference of the Sustainability Transitions Research Network) was held earlier this month in Wuppertal, Germany. Wuppertal turned out to be an interesting place to hold this conference. This part of Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) is an industrial region – one presenter claimed that the region produces 10% of the …

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A moral psychology perspective on prospective practices

One of the questions I’m interested in exploring is whether and how prospective practices – such as a scenario exercise or techno-economic modelling – translate into action.  This has been identified as a key problem by other scholars (e.g. link) and a knowledge gap (e.g. link).  Considering moral psychology may provide stimulating perspectives for developing …

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Theories of expectations and sustainability-oriented research

Last year I discovered Jens Beckert’s research on the role of fictional expectations in the economy.  Beckert interestingly contrasts the concept of fictional expectations with notion of rational expectations in economic theory, and in his recently published book Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics he further develops a sociological theory of expectations.  Beckert’s work …

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The imagined futures of the Great Barrier Reef: what’s the role of thought communities?

During my scanning of the news over recent weeks I noticed the diverse range of articles on recent coral bleaching events, related scientific research, and the future of the Great Barrier Reef, e.g.: ‘Great Barrier Reef could be dead within 20 years, Australia scientists have warned’ (link) ‘Great Barrier Reef and Other Corals May Survive …

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Expectations as a focus of politics in sustainability transitions

The question of “exactly how politics should be theorised and brought into analysis of sustainability transitions” (Lockwood 2016) has been raised by sustainability transition researchers. This post is a research memo (written as part of my doctoral research) which considers a key question: should those examining politics in sustainability transitions pay more attention to expectations …

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