Sustainable transitions: policy and practice

This working group is now closed for new abstacts

The issue of sustainable transitions has received increasing political and academic attention as a way of pointing at the considerable challenges involved in the making of social change to reach a more sustainable society. The challenges have been conceptualized in different ways as transition management, sustainable or responsible innovation, multi-level innovation, arenas of development or strategic niche management. Common concerns include the understanding of sustainability, policy-making for change, and the identification and role of transition-making actor.

To this session, we invite contributions that address the theoretical challenges as well as providing empirical insights into actual effort to achieve sustainable transitions. Papers may address policy-making in the area, to explore how policy-makers conceive of sustainable transitions, what strategies they propose, and the difficulties they face when trying to implement such strategies. However, it is important to approach the issues with an open mind with respect to who actually may be transition actors. Thus, ENGOs, industry, and agencies enacting sustainable policies are important to study. Also, we invite papers that explore the potential role of public engagement in sustainable transitions.

The theoretical diversity of the field of sustainable transition may also be explored, either by comparing approaches or by critical investigations of the assumptions made. This includes the understanding of the dynamics of transitions, action versus structure, the role of technology, governance versus governmentality, or sustainable practices.


Knut H. Sørensen, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU

Katarina Eckerberg, Department of Political Science, Umeå University

List of participants