Andy Stirling

Andy Stirling
University of Sussex · Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

MA (Edinburgh); DPhil (Sussex)

About

388
Publications
150,493
Reads
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17,932
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Introduction
Albeit in tiny ways, my work aims to help in struggles to 'democratise progress' towards equal societies, distributed power and a flourishing Earth ●|● For an overview of my main research questions, please see here: https://profiles.sussex.ac.uk/p7513-andrew-stirling ●|● A summary of how particular papers address specific topics is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FdM9vK8GLaBpYyFuLL0pmx25JpancQzq/ ●|● I am sorry not to be organised enough to respond to messages sent through ResearchGate.
Additional affiliations
December 1994 - present
University of Sussex
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (388)
Article
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This paper examines the diverse ways in which science and technology are implicated in collective imaginations of urban futures in Kenya. Despite calls for a 'deep reimagining' of African urbanisation (UN Habitat 2014), globalised narratives of urban 'smartness' are intersecting with pan-African tendencies toward top-down Master Planning to constra...
Article
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Nuclear power has long offered an iconic context for addressing risk and controversy surrounding megaprojects-including trends towards cost overruns, management failures, governance challenges , and accountability breaches. Less attention has focused on reasons why countries continue new nuclear construction despite these well-documented problems....
Book
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Universities and, more broadly, higher education institutions (HEIs), need to use the knowledge they produce and their education of new professionals, to help solve some of the world´s greatest problems, as addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations (UN). Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges, most str...
Article
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Despite three decades of political efforts and a wealth of research on the causes and catastrophic impacts of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise and are 60% higher today than they were in 1990. Exploring this rise through nine thematic lenses—covering issues of climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopol...
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At a time when such discussions are muted in academic enquiry, media coverage and wider energy policy, Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) have provided crucial analysis of the role that militaries play in influencing the direction and speed of low carbon transitions. 1 Indeed it is remarkable given the central role that war and the military...
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Starting from Marcel Mauss’ observation that “one has no right to refuse a gift”, this paper explores the politics of refusal in the context of field trials with genetically modified organisms in Flanders (Belgium). Based on a decade of activist research, and focusing on the genetically modified organism field trials of the Flemish Institute for Bi...
Article
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Conservation science deals with crises and supports policy interventions devised to mitigate highly uncertain threats that pose irreversible harm. When conventional policy tools, such as quantitative risk assessments, are insufficient, the precautionary principle provides a practical framework and range of robust heuristics. Yet, precaution is ofte...
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Letter: New nuclear plants would be hopelessly problematic | Financial Times https://www-ft-com.ezproxy.sussex.ac.uk/content/dfc5a772-caab-41ba-833a-b55fe1aef267 1/2 © Bloomberg 12 HOURS AGO By failing to consider alternatives in a balanced way, Admiral Lord West of Spithead ("Investment in UK nuclear power is long overdue", Letters, June 18), trea...
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Preprint
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STEPS Centre Blog Post ... given that degrowth points to “planned yet adaptive … downscaling of the economy”, one critical issue is overlooked. When it comes to economic and political structures, what if topology matters at least as much as scale? The word topology draws attention to the patterns of social relations – both among people (as mediat...
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If countries want to lower emissions as substantially, rapidly and cost-effectively as possible, they should prioritize support for renewables, rather than nuclear power, the findings of a major new energy study concludes. Credit: University of Sussex If countries want to lower emissions as substantially, rapidly and cost-effectively as possible, t...
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This article provides prospective appraisal of key policy instruments intended to stimulate innovation to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR refers to the ability of microbes to evolve resistance to those treatments designed to kill them, and is associated with the overuse or misuse of medicines such as antibiotics. AMR is an emerging globa...
Article
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It is reasonable to give particular scrutiny both to the style and content of a commentary by Jeremy Gordon published on an article issued last year in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Energy. This is sadly especially so, because what we see as Jeremy Gordon's aggressive tone and superficial arguments display behaviour that is sadly growing among n...
Research
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For sustainability, it is crucial to transform each dominant STI pathway from within. For example, through innovation and regulation for ‘cleaner production’, aimed at reducing the pathway’s negative impacts on societies and the environment. Equally crucial for sustainability, however, are deeper transformations to recognise and promote a diversity...
Article
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The contribution makes use of a sociotechnical imaginaries (STI) framework to expose crucial but neglected governance issues in sociotechnical areas of key relevance to sustainability transformations such as energy systems. It explores how the STI concept can contribute to understanding transformations to sustainability (T2S) by illustrating their...
Article
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Two of the most widely emphasized contenders for carbon emissions reduction in the electricity sector are nuclear power and renewable energy. While scenarios regularly question the potential impacts of adoption of various technology mixes in the future, it is less clear which technology has been associated with greater historical emission reduction...
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This article discusses currently neglected distinctions between control, care, and conviviality in the politics of technology for sustainability. We conceptualize control as the ambition to maintain fictitious borders between hierarchically ordered categories such as subjects and objects. This ambition is materialized into a wide range of Modern te...
Article
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The field of science and technology studies (STS) has introduced and developed a “sociotechnical” perspective that has been taken up by many disciplines and areas of inquiry. The aims and objectives of this study are threefold: to interrogate which sociotechnical concepts or tools from STS are useful at better understanding energy-related social sc...
Conference Paper
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Summary and Recommendations This evidence reviews the status of UK Government policy justification for its presently intense commitment to new nuclear build, as compared with alternative low carbon energy strategies. This is a central issue for the present Consultation, because it is a presumption that this justification is adequate, that forms th...
Data
Ten broad research questions highlighted on my University of Sussex website are briefly repeated in italics below. Each is then accompanied here by a short summary of the kinds of tentative possible answers that my research has tried to explore over the years (drawing as this does on work by many others). Some of the more distinctive terms or phras...
Preprint
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Does the delusion of 'climate control' do more harm than good to climate disruption?
Preprint
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The use of indicators is generally associated with a reduction of perspectival diversity in evaluation that often facilitates making decisions along dominant framings – effectively closing down debate. In this chapter we will argue that while this is indeed often the case, indicators can also be used to help support more plural evaluation and foste...
Article
The governance of the nexus between water, energy, and food (hereafter, ‘the nexus’) is permeated by complex interactions of knowledge at a science-policy-society interface. This paper starts from a literature review to find the main narratives that allow us to understand what is at stake in this interface. By thematically synthesising 19 select ar...
Article
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Pandemic politics highlight how predictions need to be transparent and humble to invite insight, not blame. Pandemic politics highlight how predictions need to be transparent and humble to invite insight, not blame.
Article
The imperatives of environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and social justice (partially codified in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) call for ambitious societal transformations. As such, few aspects of actionable knowledge for sustainability are more crucial than those concerning the processes of transformation. This article of...
Article
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Academic and policy literatures are seeing a growing discussion about ‘clean energy disruption’. However, the term disruption often lacks definitional clarity. Departing from the concept of disruptive innovation and based on a review of firm-based management and socio-technical transitions literatures, we derive four dimensions of system disruption...
Article
This paper focuses on the starkly differing nuclear policies of Germany and the UK. Germany has committed to discontinue nuclear power, aiming to phase the technology out by 2022. The UK has long professed the aim of a ‘nuclear renaissance’, promoting the most ambitious nuclear construction programme in Europe. The present analysis of this contrast...
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From groundwater depletion to toxic air pollution, modernising development pathways are linked with grave unsustainability challenges, as they extend the unbridled extraction of “goods” from nature while carelessly dumping back the “bads.” To move beyond this and to realise sustainable development, plural pathways may be required in each field, be...
Article
This paper examines a variety of theories bearing on 'socio-material incumbency' and explores methodological implications. The aim is to develop a systematic general approach, which builds on strengths and mitigates weaknesses in prevailing analytical frameworks. A particular priority lies in avoidance of self-acknowledged tendencies in existing th...
Technical Report
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Evidence submitted to inquiry of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Energy Infrastructure Financing
Research
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As the UK renegotiates its relationships with Europe and the world, science and technology lie at the centre of a complex set of questions about governance, regulation, innovation and interdependence. By looking back over the past decade of experience with emerging science and technologies, we can draw important lessons, and use these to guide us a...
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Second in a three-part series of blogposts
Research
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first of three blogposts on politics of incertitude
Technical Report
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This paper examines a variety of theories bearing on 'socio-material incumbency' and explores methodological implications. The aim is to develop a systematic general approach, which builds on strengths and mitigates weaknesses in prevailing analytical frameworks. Defining power as 'asymmetrically structuring agency', incumbency is visible in a dive...
Article
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Nuclear Monitor #804 in May 2015 included a detailed critique of the many ways nuclear advocates trivialise and deny the connections between nuclear power (and the broader nuclear fuel cycle) and weapons proliferation. Since then, the arguments have been turned upside down with prominent industry insiders and lobbyists openly acknowledging power-we...
Technical Report
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Key Insights: China Still Dominates Developments Nuclear power generation in the world increased by 1% due to an 18% increase in China. Global nuclear power generation excluding China declined for the third year in a row. Four reactors started up in 2017 of which three were in China and one in Pakistan (built by a Chinese company). Five units...
Article
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In our view, the four principles for making evidence synthesis more useful for policy would be strengthened by taking power and bias into account (C. A. Donnelly et al. Nature558, 361–364; 2018 ). Otherwise, the principles could fall short for issues that involve uncertain facts, disputed values, high stakes and urgent decisions — as in global biod...
Chapter
Despite high uncertainties, strongly diverging values, and often-perverse effects of powerful vested interests, large and complex projects require clear decisions to be made from the outset. Coburn and Stirling introduce multicriteria mapping (MCM) as a problem structuring method for addressing these challenges in project appraisal by engaging with...
Research
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Frontstage rhetorics, backstage forces in current debates around the European Court of Justice ruling on GM crops
Article
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Frameworks that govern the development and application of novel products, such as the products of synthetic biology, should involve all those who are interested or potentially affected by the products. The governance arrangements for novel products should also provide a democratic mechanism that allows affected parties to express their opinions on...
Article
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In this interview, Andy Stirling talks to Michael Kattirtzi about what initially drew him to Science and Technology Studies, his account of the impact of the Science Wars on the field, and why it matters that STS researchers do not shy away from challenging incumbents. Through a series of thoughtful reflections on his encounters with STS researcher...
Chapter
Rethinking Society for the 21st Century - by International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) July 2018
Article
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For better or worse, science and technology are both deeply entangled in “social progress”. This is the case equally in discourse and practise around the world. In areas such as health, wealth, energy, mobility, and communications, it is widely recognized that remarkable historical improvements— at least for some— all owe much to science and techno...
Technical Report
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This briefing summarises key aspects of a seriously neglected current major UK policy issue, with potentially profound economic and wider implications. Each aspect is taken in turn, with a short bullet, a few lines on the main points and detailed notes at the end with a bibliography of sources.
Chapter
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Over nearly thirty years now, Erik Millstone has been – for me – a greatly valued teacher, mentor, colleague, comrade, protagonist, friend and inspiration. His unique mix of forensic rigour, dogged determination, contagious good humour and deep humanity continues to build a lasting legacy among the many whose paths he has crossed, and also leaves m...
Article
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The purpose of this essay is to critically review the design of methods for ethically robust forms of technology appraisal in the regulation of research and innovation in synthetic biology. It will focus, in particular, on the extent to which cost-benefit analysis offers a basis for informing decisions about which technological pathways to pursue a...
Chapter
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In this paper we introduce an area of activity that has flourished for decades in all corners of the globe, namely grassroots innovation for sustainable development. We also argue why innovation in general is a matter for democracy. Combining these two points, we explore how grassroots innovation can contribute to what we call innovation democracy,...
Chapter
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This chapter engages with three important themes of the larger report: the meaning of progress, its uneven nature, and obstacles to future progress. It also considers a number of political and economic alternatives aimed to overcome these obstacles, emphasizing the need for diverse strategies, open-minded experimentation, and scientific assessment....
Article
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The paper critically reviews the work of David Collingridge in the light of contemporary concerns about responsibility and accountability in innovation, public engagement with science and technology, and the role of scientific expertise in technology policy. Given continued interest in his thoughts on the 'social control of technology', and the 'di...