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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

The problem with “transition management”

As noted in other recent posts I’ve been familiarising myself with an emerging field of research called sustainability transitions research (e.g. here, here). ‘Transition management’ (TM) is one approach that has been explored and researched at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT). I’ve noted the concept of transition management in some of my papers …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

On the need for a genuinely sociological view of low-carbon transitions (and further moves in this direction by transition theorists)

Many sustainability activists frequently quote R. Buckminster Fuller, especially his well-known assertion that: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Frank Geels’ latest paper on low carbon transitions argues that Fuller is wrong and suggests an important change in direction …

Read More