Bonno Pel

Bonno Pel
Université Libre de Bruxelles | ULB · Institute for Environmental Management and Land-use Planning (IGEAT)

Ph.D.

About

75
Publications
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2,418
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2014 - present
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Position
  • PostDoc Position
March 2006 - March 2014
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (75)
Article
Full-text available
As current sustainability challenges are increasingly acknowledged to be of a persistent and systemic nature, sustainability transitions are pursued as likewise systemic solutions. Attempts at such systemic innovations have frequently been seen to become ‘captured’ by incumbent actors, however. As such neutralizing or even perverting co-optation re...
Article
Social innovation is on the rise as a mode of governance through which to address societal challenges. Seeking to empower SI initiatives, researchers and policy makers are concerned with the development of supportive “ecosystems”. This concept usefully calls attention to the distributed nature of SI agency, but many questions remain on the kinds of...
Article
This paper responds to the need in innovation research for conceptual clarity and solid theory on social innovation (SI). The paper conceptualizes SI as changing social relations, involving new ways of doing, knowing, framing and organizing, and theorizes transformative social innovation (TSI) as the process of SI challenging, altering, or replacin...
Article
Social innovation (SI) is gaining attention as an innovation category. However, the SI concept proves vulnerable to stereotypical understandings. Next to the radically novel, diffusion-oriented and thereby manifestly innovative social ‘niches’, it is important to also acknowledge the rather latent SI phenomena of restoration and shielding. This pape...
Article
The paper sets out to enrich the emerging debate on ‘deep’, transversal transitions. It does so by drawing attention to socio-economic developments neglected in the Deep Transition (DT) framework of Kanger and Schot, such as marketization, labour contracts becoming more individual and precarious, and changing human beliefs, aspirations, needs and w...
Technical Report
Full-text available
LAMARTRA addresses the interlinkages between transition processes of decarbonisation and ‘labour market’ - understood more broadly as work and employment. The salience of these interlinkages is increasing as processes of low-carbon transition are progressing beyond their initial stages of pioneering and niche markets. This salience speaks from the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The importance of social and institutional innovations in the energy transition has become increasingly evident in recent years. The quest for new institutional arrangements and social relations has been accompanied by the proliferation of new concepts: Energy democracy, energy justice, energy poverty and energy literacy are interrogating and openi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Within this deliverable we examine how energy citizenship, and the associated normative ideals of ‘active’ energy citizenship, has developed and continues to develop differently across European contexts. We report the results from four (local language) one-day regional workshops, hosted in Spain, Belgium, Germany, Hungary.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This deliverable describes the conceptual framework on energy citizenship. It lays down the key definitions, theoretical underpinnings and social constructions of the required systematic energy citizenship understanding. The conceptual framework discloses the diversity of more and less 'active' energy citizenship forms, identifying the main distinc...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This deliverable elaborates the fundamentals of the conceptual framework (D 2.1) into a conceptual typology of energy citizenship (ENCI). Following a robust methodology, ten ideal-types are presented and discussed in this document. This innovative conceptual typology captures the breadth of energy citizenship in terms of conceptual forms, thus enco...
Article
Transitions research needs to engage more thoroughly with relapses in transitions. Particularly salient are the dynamics of ‘backlash’: Transition trajectories that, after initial diffusion, stagnate and subsequently relapse in terms of intended system change. Due to preoccupations with desirable transitions and virtuous S-curves, the phenomenon is...
Presentation
Full-text available
Taking RE prosumerism as a key example of social innovation in the context of the energy transition, this paper demonstrates how the dark sides of social innovation can be articulated in sustainability transitions theory. Current discussions of those dark sides hover between naïve optimism and paralyzing critique. We develop a more balanced underst...
Article
Full-text available
Social innovation is an important dimension of current transformations in energy systems. It can refer to alternative business models, novel policy instruments, financing schemes, participatory governance approaches to energy questions, or new discourses. Its significance for energy systems is often considered in narrow instrumentalist terms, reduc...
Article
Full-text available
Renewable energy (RE) prosumerism comes with promises and expectations of contributing to sustainable and just energy systems. In its current process of becoming mainstream, numerous challenges and doubts have arisen whether it will live up to these. Building on insights from sustainability transitions research and institutional theory, this articl...
Presentation
Full-text available
DEEE comme enjeu systémique; interrogations de point de vue de la theorie des transitions sur les dimensions, phases, agencements dans la transition DEEE en Bruxelles
Article
Current sustainability challenges call for transitions in locked-in socio-technical systems. The governance of transitions often remains limited to the cultivation of sustainable 'niche' innovations, however. This paper explores how to handle transitions directionality, i.e. the diversity of possible socio-technical development paths. It reaches be...
Article
Current social innovation initiatives towards societal transformations bring forward new ways of doing and organizing, but new ways of knowing as well. Their efforts towards realizing those are important sites for the investigation of contemporary tensions of expertise. The promotion of new, transformative ways of knowing typically involves a large...
Presentation
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
Festivals have come to play an important role in tourism, and managing their legacy has become an important challenge for governments and the events industry. Festivals typically take place over limited periods of time, but they also bring longer lasting legacies for the economy, local communities and the environment. Festival legacies are characte...
Presentation
Full-text available
The mainstreaming of RE prosumerism amounts to a complex crossroads of multiple possible RE prosumerism futures, with very different implications in terms of citizen participation, inclusiveness and transparency. The ‘incentive structures’ shaping the RE prosumerism process have been identified by considering RE prosumerism as a bundle of new actio...
Presentation
Full-text available
Society is transforming through a whirlpool of innovations, including technological innovations and a wide array of social innovations such as new modes of governance or ways of working and living together. As researchers and practitioners are trying to make sense of transformative innovations, they run into various paradoxes: Despite being revolut...
Article
Full-text available
This article responds to increasing public and academic discourses on social innovation, which often rest on the assumption that social innovation can drive societal change and empower actors to deal with societal challenges and a retreating welfare state. In order to scrutinise this assumption, this article proposes a set of concepts to study the...
Article
Research on sustainability transitions has expanded rapidly in the last ten years, diversified in terms of topics and geographical applications, and deepened with respect to theories and methods. This article provides an extensive review and an updated research agenda for the field, classified into nine main themes: understanding transitions; power...
Article
Full-text available
Alongside current policy discourses on the transformative potentials of social innovation, social innovation initiatives also construct their own accounts of how society can be transformed and by whom. Building on state-of-the-art futures studies and narrative research and their linkages, this article unfolds these narratives of change (NoC) by soc...
Presentation
Full-text available
Social innovation is widely embraced as a way to renovate, energize and open up administration. This promise often leads to disappointments, however, due to unrealistic expectations and under-estimation of the difficulty to introduce and sustain new social relations and institutional arrangements. Realism is needed. This realism is especially neede...
Article
Full-text available
Current social innovation initiatives towards societal transformations bring forward new ways of doing and organizing, but new ways of knowing as well. Their efforts towards realizing those are important sites for the investigation of contemporary tensions of expertise. The promotion of new, transformative ways of knowing typically involves a large...
Conference Paper
Social innovation is on the rise as a mode of governance through which to address societal challenges. Seeking to empower SI initiatives, researchers and policy makers are concerned with the development of supportive ‘ecosystems’. This concept usefully calls attention to the distributed nature of SI agency, but many questions remain on the kinds of...
Technical Report
Full-text available
As part of the broader research strategy in the TRANSIT project, it is the aim to compare RIPESS with other cases of transformative social innovation. The report primarily serves this internal purpose of building theory through case comparison. So other than providing a comprehensive case study and evaluating the achievements of the featured initia...
Article
Full-text available
Considering that it is important for the social innovation research field to confront its methodological challenges, this contribution addresses the challenge of choosing appropriate units of analysis. Invoking insights from actor-network theory, it is demonstrated that this challenge is pervasive: the agency in social innovation processes is distr...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that there is currently a need for new theory on transformative social innovation that is able to provide empowering insights to practice, especially in terms of how social innovation interacts with transformative change processes. It identifies three ‘pitfalls’ that such theory-building needs to confront, and presents middle-rang...
Working Paper
Full-text available
An updated version of this working paper has been published in the 'Research Policy' journal (2020). Pel, B., Haxeltine, A., Avelino, F., Dumitru, A., Kemp, R., Bauler, T., Kunze, I., Dorland, J., Wittmayer, W. & Jørgensen, M. S. (2020), Towards a theory of Transformative Social Innovation: a relational framework and 12 propositions, Research Pol...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, there have been substantial efforts towards theory-building and conceptual clarification in social innovation (SI) research further contributing to its consolidation as a research field. Taking a different angle, this special issue aims to contribute to such consolidation by introducing greater reflexivity about the underlying meth...
Article
Het slapende gezin in een voertuig zonder bestuurder is een vertrouwd beeld geworden. De zelfrijdende auto is niet meer uit het nieuws weg te slaan. Maar dat wil nog niet zeggen dat die zomaar in ons verkeerssysteem kan worden geïntroduceerd. De ‘driverless car’ is niet alleen een technologische vernieuwing en productinnovatie, hij zal ook heel wat...
Article
Full-text available
Social innovation is gaining attention for its potential for system transformations. It is often initiated by grassroots collectives, which can become successful through support from other actors and through certain game-changing events or developments. We highlight how transformative social innovation is a highly dispersed, coproduced process of c...
Conference Paper
Social innovation is increasingly endorsed for its potentials towards addressing societal challenges of sustainability, social inclusion and democratization. Critical scholars and practitioners have raised attention however to the many ways in which SI silently reproduces rather than transforms dominant institutions. This contribution seeks to clar...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This deliverable is the synthesis report of work package 5 ‘Cases and Evidence – Meta analysis’. It presents the results of the meta-analysis of TSI propositions through the Critical Turning Points database. This database contains 65 local manifestations of transnational social innovation networks in 28 different countries, and almost 400 in-depth...
Article
Full-text available
Current persistent challenges of sustainable and equitable development call for systemic technical and social innovations. The ´insertion´ practices of work integration social enterprises (WISEs) can be considered examples of such innovation efforts. The underlying rationales and institutional frameworks have been elaborated extensively in social e...
Article
The ‘mobilities turn’ has reinvigorated the social critique on the automobility system. Theorizing its profound reconfigurations of social life, relationist commitments invite a certain silence regarding the associated social pathologies, however. This article explores a critical-theoretical interpretation of the mobilities paradigm. It proposes th...
Working Paper
Full-text available
This is a working paper from the early stages of the TRANSIT project. More recent accounts are Avelino, F., Wittmayer, J. M., Pel, B., Weaver, P., Dumitru, A., Haxeltine, A., ... & O'Riordan, T. (2019). Transformative social innovation and (dis) empowerment. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, 195-206. Pel, B., Haxeltine, A., Aveli...
Conference Paper
In his book The Great Transformation (1944), Karl Polanyi introduced the concept of a double movement in society. The first movement is towards marketization: the spread of market thinking and market-based forms of allocation throughout society, driven by international trade and naturalist ideas of competition and utilitarianism. The second movemen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Social innovation is increasingly believed to have a great potential for addressing persistent societal challenges such as sustainability, social inclusion, democratization and deprivation. We understand transformative social innovation (TSI) as social innovation that is aimed to challenge, alter, replace or provide alternatives to dominant institu...
Chapter
Since its emergence as a theory of sustainability transformation, transitions theory has started to gain currency with both policymakers and researchers. As transitions approaches become established in research and policy, a process of institutionalization can be witnessed. Yet notwithstanding this mainstreaming, transitions theory continues to be...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Social innovation, understood as change in social relations, is gaining currency as an answer to contemporary societal challenges. On the account of transformative SI, it can challenge, alter and replace the knowings and doings of existing social structures. There is a duality in SI however, as it unavoidably also draws on and reproduces those. Thi...
Article
Full-text available
The persistence of current societal problems has given rise to a quest for transformative social innovations. As social innovation actors seek to become change makers, it has been suggested that they need to play into impactful macrodevelopments or “game-changers”. Here, we aim to deepen the understanding of the social innovation agency in these tr...
Research
Community energy is emerging as an intriguing new way of organizing the energy system. It fits very well to discourses on sustainability, but also to more neo-liberal ideas of self-reliance and independence. At the same time, its development challenges existing (energy) structures and raises questions about the (self-) governance of community energ...
Conference Paper
Social innovation is gaining currency as an answer to contemporary societal challenges. The concept has raised high expectations, but also meets with skepticisms and contestations, however. It has been noted to be a particularly malleable concept. Considering its vulnerability to succumbing under divergent framings and fading away as a passing 'hyp...
Article
Motorway capacity expansion projects are prominent causes for contestation. From a large technical systems (LTS) perspective, the concept of 'momentum' can be deployed to investigate social appraisals associated with such projects. Momentum is the end stage in LTS development, designating stabilization in the coevolution of social and technical sys...
Article
Full-text available
Delta areas can be considered complex adaptive socio-ecological systems. The Dutch Southwest delta, facing serious flood risks, vulnerability to ecological decline, and various challenging issues of agriculture, industry, harbor development and energy provision, is a case in point. Still, many institutional barriers exist towards governing and plan...
Article
Full-text available
This article argues that it is relevant to apply the complex adaptive system approach to urbanized deltas. On the basis of this, it discusses some important planning issues related to these areas: adapting them to changing circumstances, synchronizing the various sectors in the areas, and organizing collective action to realize this. The paper also...
Article
Full-text available
Current persistent sustainability challenges are widely understood to require transitions and system innovations. As these systemic changes typically emerge from multiple co-evolving innovations, Schot and Geels [2008. Strategic niche management and sustainable innovation journeys; theory, findings, research agenda, and policy. Technology Analysis...
Article
Full-text available
Community energy is emerging as an intriguing new way of organizing the energy system. It fits very well to discourses on sustainability, but also to more neo-liberal ideas of self-reliance and independence. At the same time, its development challenges existing (energy) structures and raises questions about the (self-) governance of community energ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper addresses the challenges of Joint Fact Finding (JFF) in spatial planning and design. JFF is an important component of a deliberative planning practice: The construction of (problematic) realities is fundamental for the formulation of challenges and solutions. Information is often contested in complex planning processes due to different i...
Article
Full-text available
Zowel in mobiliteitsonderzoek als in de beleidspraktijk valt er recentelijk een onmiskenbaar streven naar 'robuustheid' waar te nemen. Dit streven is vaak een reactie op een als zeer dynamisch ervaren omgeving. Het is daarbij echter opvallend dat er zeer uiteenlopende invullingen aan dit concept worden gegeven. Dit roept de vraag op of het concept...
Article
Current and future sustainability challenges are increasingly acknowledged to be of a persistent and systemic nature. This gives rise to calls for likewise systemic solution strategies: Transformative system innovations instead of incremental system improvements, and societal transitions rather than procrastination on current locked-in trajectories...
Article
This article analyzes traffic management as an example of infrastructure operation and assesses to what extent the transition approach as developed by Rotmans, Geels, and others is helpful in providing insight and contributes to the transition of the mobility system. Based on a conceptual framework which draws on the work of Luhmann and Critical Sy...
Article
The Dutch mobility system suffers from persistent problems. Congestion, safety risks and differing forms of environmental degradation persist, despite all policy efforts to counter those. The mobility system seems to have reached a state of lock-in, asking for changes of a similarly structural nature: A mobility transition. Transitions involve chan...
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses a recurring theme in system innovation and sustainability transitions research, pertaining directly to the politics of system innovation: The issue of ‘barriers’ and ‘resistance’ to change. Framed as such, they appear as accidental and unfortunate phenomena, as obstacles on the road towards transformative change. These framings...
Article
The mission-oriented turn as proposed in the 2009 Lund declaration advocates ‘research addressing the Grand Challenges of our time, moving beyond the current rigid thematic approaches’. This contribution exposes how such research is taken up in the Dutch ‘Integral Planning and Design in the southwest Delta’ (IPDD) project2, specifying the challenge...
Article
Current sustainability challenges are increasingly acknowledged to reveal systemic flaws in societal systems such as energy, mobility and agriculture. Adequate solutions then require system innovations and societal transitions. The quest for system innovation is notoriously hard, however: In a polycentric society systemic problems tend to be elusiv...
Article
Interactive metal fatigue (IMF) is an elegant re-appreciation of the concept of ‘interpassivity’, describing how it develops through minifractures in subjects’ attempts to keep up with societal demands for interactivity. Other than the original art-philosophical and psychoanalytical understandings, this rather historical conceptualization opens up...
Article
Full-text available
Current sustainability challnges are increasingly acknowledged to be of a systemic nature. Instead of procrastinating further through incremental changes, societal systems (mobility, energy, agriculture) are therefore considered to be in need of system innovations and transitions. Thus far, system innovation has mainly been studied through synoptic...

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Projects

Projects (10)
Project
EnergyPROSPECTS aims to develop a broad understanding of energy citizenship. It analyses the external and internal contextual conditions as they support or hinder energy citizenship in its various forms - and across different countries, regions and contexts.
Project
LAMARTRA addresses the interlinkages between transition processes of decarbonisation and work & employment. How to understand the ongoing and future developments of the low-carbon and 'labour' transitions, and which governance strategies are available in Belgium to ensure the joint pursuit of climate targets and ‘just’ work and employment?
Project
Various network governance constellations are being developed for the stimulation, co-creation and institutional anchorage of sustainability-oriented innovation and grassroots initiatives. Beyond this bright and mobilizing side of transitions governance, this project deliberately targets its crucial but hitherto relatively neglected counterpart of exnovation. How can the existing governance arrangements and regulatory frameworks in the Brussels Capital Region be supported in dealing with the sustainable economy transition and its exnovation challenges? To find more information about our research, please follow us on our website https://exnovation.brussels/ or on facebook https://www.facebook.com/GOSETEproject