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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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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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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Explaining the outcomes of prospective knowledge practices: what influences whether scenarios (or other outputs) are used?

The use and, perhaps more frequently, non-use of the outputs generated by prospective knowledge practices is a big issue discussed by many people who conduct these activities. As one person I interviewed this week put it, you don’t want the end result/product to just be yet another report sitting on the shelf gathering dust! This …

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Debates and problems in ‘sustainability transitions’ theory and research

Lately I’ve been further familiarising myself with emerging field of research called sustainability transitions research which has developed over the past 15-20 years. Broadly such research, according to the Sustainability Transitions Research Network’s (STRN) research agenda (which, it must be said, doesn’t clearly define what a ‘sustainability transition’ is nor does it clearly define the …

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New publication on proactive (or ‘transformative’) scenario planning

UPDATE: My principal PhD supervisor and I have just published a new paper which reviews and contributes to the distinction between reactive and proactive/’transformative’ forms of scenario planning, which is part of a special issue of the International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy – see: http://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticletoc.php?jcode=ijfip&year=2015&vol=10&issue=2/3/4. The paper focusses on proactive (or ‘transformative’) approaches …

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Examining the role of anticipatory knowledge in institutional change

Initially major motivations for doing my PhD research were to contribute to the evidence base that underpins ‘foresight’ work (given that formal evaluations are rarely conducted and practitioners rarely have the time or the capacity to do this research), and to contribute to a better understanding of the roles such tools and practices can play …

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The politics of ‘green transformations’ and efforts to realise them

The politics of green transformations is increasingly a key theme in sustainability-related research and books. Recently published examples include The Politics of Green Transformation (edited by Scoones et al., 2015), The Politics of Sustainability: Philosophical Perspectives (edited by Birnbacher & Thorseth, 2015), The Politics of “Big Brand Sustainability” (Dauvergne & Lister, 2014), Frank Geels’ recent …

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Reflecting on my personal journey – from ‘foresight’ practices to the sociology of prospection?

(NOTE: This was originally written in my PhD journal but I’ve decided to post it here as I’d welcome thoughts and general feedback on the idea of developing a ‘sociology of prospection’) Increasingly I use the term prospection in my research and work. Psychologists use this term to refer to “our ability to ‘pre-experience’ the …

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