Julia Wittmayer

Julia Wittmayer
DRIFT Dutch Research Institute for Transitions · Erasmus University Rotterdam

PhD

About

108
Publications
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3,625
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Publications

Publications (108)
Article
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In sustainability science, the tension between more descriptive–analytical and more process-oriented approaches is receiving increasing attention. The latter entails a number of roles for researchers, which have largely been neglected in the literature. Based on the rich tradition of action research and on a specific process-oriented approach to su...
Article
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This paper contributes to understanding transition politics by conceptualizing (shifting) power relations between actors in sustainability transitions. The authors introduce a Multi-actor Perspective as a heuristic framework for specifying (shifting) power relations between different categories of actors at different levels of aggregation. First, a...
Article
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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
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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
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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...
Article
Academic research and policy have focused on sustainable energy transitions for addressing the societal challenge of climate change for a long time, but the concept of ‘social innovation’ has only been recently taken up. This concept refers to different social phenomena relating to changes in socio-technical systems. Moving beyond narrow perspectiv...
Article
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This article positions collective renewable energy prosumerism as a social movement that engages in energy system transformation. Collective renewable energy prosumer initiatives engage in ‘prefigurative’ work through their discursive framings (ways of thinking), their activities (ways of doing) and their understanding and enactment of social relat...
Article
Pathways towards low-carbon energy transitions have become a priority in 21st century Europe. The commitment to lowering carbon dioxide emissions have triggered changes to current fossil fuel-based energy systems. Over the past decade, fossil fuel energy pathways have been characterized by closures of sites, continued extractions and new exploratio...
Article
From early on, reflexive governance approaches have been problematised for lacking explicit consideration of formal governance and decision-making structures. Developed over two decades ago, transition management is not an exception; it has been specifically critiqued for being democratically illegitimate and depoliticising issues. Contributing to...
Article
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In this paper, we explore the development of financing and subsidies for renewable energy in three fossil-fuelled European countries: Poland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Financing for renewable energy is an existing arena involving multi-actor activities and practices that develop and implement (innovative) financial instruments to fac...
Presentation
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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
Transitions research has paid increasing attention to the different spatial scales of transitions. This special section considers whether fundamental changes in structures, cultures and practices can be addressed at local or district scales. This focus on local scales also draws the attention to different types of local actors, their roles, activit...
Article
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To fulfil the European Union's (EU) goal of providing 'Clean Energy for All Europeans', a transformative shift from centralised, fossil-fuel based systems to decentralised systems based on renewable energy sources (RES) is envisaged. Keen to lead the clean energy transition while embedding technological innovation and elements of justice and equita...
Article
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Transformation research has in the past years emerged as a shared lens to study and support radical societal change towards sustainability. Given the nascent and exploratory—yet highly normative and ambitious—character of transformation research, we aim to enhance the understanding of transformation research: when do research designs qualify as tra...
Research
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Policy-facing organisations involved in the energy transition can greatly benefit from more and better interaction with experts in social sciences and humanities (SSH). This report chronicles the efforts of the Energy-SHIFTS program to connect policy makers to SSH-researchers and to connecting policy dilemmas to larger shifts in thinking around ene...
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...
Technical Report
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english versin see below Im Rahmen des UBA-Vorhabens Transformation hin zu nachhaltigen, gekoppelten Infrastruktu-ren (TRAFIS) wurden Wirkungen, Prozesse und Unterstützungsmöglichkeiten bei der Umset-zung innovativer Infrastrukturkopplungen betrachtet. Im Fokus stehen die Sektoren Wasser, Abwasser, Energie, Verkehr, Abfall und IKT. Der vorliegende...
Research
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This study identified the factors and activities influencing the implementation and diffusion of innovative coupled infrastructures. The primary objective was to derive effective action and support options for the federal government as well as for local and regional infrastructure planners. We analysed the development pathways of nine examples of i...
Article
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This paper develops a conceptual understanding of transformative innovations as shared activities, ideas and objects across locally rooted sustainability initiatives that explore and develop alternatives to incumbent and (perceived) unsustainable regimes that they seek to challenge, alter or replace. We synthesize empirical work from two European r...
Technical Report
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Infrastrukturkopplungen zwischen verschiedenen Sektoren sowie zwischen Teilsektoren, wie z.B. Strom- und Gaserzeugung, bieten das Potential, die Daseinsvorsorge der Menschen auf kommunaler und regionaler Ebene langfristig nachhaltiger zu gestalten sowie das Klima und natürliche Ressourcen zu schonen. Als komplexe sozio-technische Systeme unterliege...
Technical Report
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Im Vorhaben wurden Wirkungen, Prozesse und Unterstützungsmöglichkeiten bei der Umsetzung innovativer Infrastrukturkopplungen betrachtet. Es wurden aktuelle Entwicklungen, die verbundenen Transformationsprozesse einschließlich unterstützender und hindernder Einflussfaktoren sowie potentielle Nachhaltigkeitswirkungen von gekoppelten Infrastrukturlösu...
Article
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Hajer and Wagenaar originally proposed Deliberative Policy Analysis (DPA) as an approach suited to transforming a policy world characterized by complexity, pluralism and unpredictability. Because its transformative ambitions have long remained unfulfilled, DPA has begun embracing a variety of Action Research (AR) approaches committed to generating...
Article
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The complexity of the sustainability challenge demands for collaboration between different actors, be they governments, businesses, or grassroots movements, at all levels. Nevertheless, and according to previous research, many tensions and obstacles to partnership still exist and results are far from meaningful. By investigating potential synergies...
Article
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A key strategy in the European Union’s ambition to establish an ‘Energy Union’ that is not just clean, but also fair, consists of empowering citizens to actively interact with the energy market as self-consumers or prosumers. Although renewable energy sources (RES) prosumerism has been growing for at least a decade, two new EU directives are intend...
Article
Infrastructure systems undergo profound change in order to meet the changing societal demands for climate protection and resource conservation, the changing expectations and behavioral patterns of users and new technologies. In addition to many challenges, this goes along with the opportunity for more sustainability in infrastructure systems. Our r...
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
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This Perspective positions urban challenges in informal settlements in the Global South as a question of how to coproduce actionable knowledge for sustainability transitions, and how this relates to power issues. The aim is to inform those who are actively working on sustainability transitions in practice how to navigate the pluriform ways power ma...
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...
Technical Report
This collection of reports forms part of the scoping work of the Energy Social Sciences and Humanities Innovation Forum Targeting the SET Plan (Energy-SHIFTS). The reports are based on four workshops held in Spring/Summer 2019, which brought together experts from the research and policy sectors to discuss four themes: 1. Social innovation in the en...
Presentation
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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...
Poster
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Physical infrastructures are vital for the distribution and the exchange of energy, maters and information as a basis for social and economic well-being of a society. However, infrastructures also consume raw materials, energy and land, are a source of emissions and thus affect environmental quality and climate change. Currently, infrastructural s...
Article
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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...
Chapter
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What is the transformative potential of social enterprise? To be more than a fashion or a fictitious panacea, the concept of social enterprise needs to be debated. The book volume ‘Theory of Social Enterprise and Pluralism: Social Movements, Solidarity Economy, and Global South’ is edited by Philippe Eynaud, Jean-Louis Laville, Luciane dos Santos,...
Article
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This paper contributes to public and academic discussions on empowerment and social innovation by conceptualizing the mechanisms of empowerment from a social psychology perspective, and empirically exploring how people are empowered through both local and transnational linkages, i.e. translocal networks. Section 2 conceptualizes empowerment as the...
Technical Report
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The innovation of coupled infrastructure can potentially support transformations towards sustainability and resilience. We reconstructed and analysed the development pathways of nine case studies of coupled infrastructure innovations in Germany to understand the development of coupled infrastructure innovations and to derive concrete guidelines for...
Article
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This paper explores how transition management processes can be designed to address the unsustainability of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in informal settlements in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The unsustainability of services related to WASH in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa is deeply embedded in current societal and g...
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...
Preprint
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The unsustainability of the services related to water, sanitation and hygiene in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa services is deeply embedded in current societal and governance structures, cultures and practices; it is context-dependent and involves numerous actors with different interests. The field of sustainability transitions research...
Book
This edited volume explores how action research forms a valuable methodology for producing collaborative knowledge and action for addressing today's political, social, economic, and environmental crises. It outlines the recent uptake of action research in policy analysis and transition research and develops a distinct and novel approach that is bot...
Article
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The most critical question for climate research is no longer about the problem, but about how to facilitate the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change. Addressing this question, however, will require massive upscaling of research that can rapidly enhance learning about transformations. Ten essentials for guidi...
Chapter
Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Research
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In den letzten Jahren wurde vermehrt der Ruf nach einer Transformationsforschung laut, welche sich dem wachsenden globalen Problemdruck stellt und sich mit der Unterstützung von Nachhaltigkeitstransformationen beschäftigt. Im Laufe der letzten Jahre haben sich verschiedene analytische und the-oretische Schwerpunkte und Rahmenwerke sowie Methoden en...
Research
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The last years, calls surged for a transformation research, which addresses the increasing global environmental and social challenges and supports transformations towards sustainability. As transformation research developed rapidly in relation to various societal domains and established research strands, there is currently a need for self-reflectio...
Research
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Transformation research develops rapidly – it combines multiple research fields and approaches, converges theoretical concepts and frameworks, pursues the ambitious goal of contributing to societal sustainability transformations and advocates transdisciplinary research methods. There are some fervent debates about the legitimacy, societal impact an...
Chapter
When the city of Ludwigsburg in Germany experimented with the transition management approach, it had already formulated ambitious sustainability strategies and programmes, institutionalised sustainability in a cross-sectional city department and established a variety of participatory processes to collect citizen input for strategic planning. In thi...
Chapter
The multi-actor nature of urban sustainability transitions challenges existing social fabrics and local governance settings, and raises questions about who takes decisions, with which agenda and to what end. It demands close attention to who are actors involved in transition processes and what are the implications for (changing) roles, responsibili...
Article
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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
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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...
Article
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This editorial introduces the special feature on the role of game-changers, broadly conceptualized as macro-trends that change the “rules of the game,” in processes of transformative social innovation. First, the key concepts are introduced together with the academic workshop that brought together 25 scholars, from across a wide range of discipline...
Working Paper
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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
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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
‘Transition’ and ‘transformation’ have become buzzwords in political and scientific discourses. They signal the need for large-scale changes to achieve a sustainable society. We compare how they are applied and interpreted in scientific literatures to explore whether they are distinct concepts and provide complementary insights. Transition and tran...
Data
This 4th TRANSIT brief, authored by Adina Dumitru, Isabel Lema-Blanco and colleagues, offers insights into the following questions: what is social learning, what does it consist of in the case of SI initiatives, and why is social learning important – even foundational – for SI initiatives as well as wider society? Because social innovation initiat...
Technical Report
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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
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Sustainability transitions as processes of fundamental change in societal systems are open-ended, nonlinear and uncertain. Respective research and governance approaches, e.g., transition management, propose a reflexive way of governing, aiming for a number of societal effects to help facilitating a transition. Effects include empowerment, social le...
Article
This article shows opportunities and intricacies of transition management as a facilitated empowerment process that seeks to empower ‘frontrunners’ to (re-)define and take up roles in contributing to sustainability transitions. In the context of ‘retreating’ welfare states there is an increasing focus on ‘empowering’ civil society actors to take ov...
Book
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This TRANSIT brief offers insights into the following questions: what is social learning, what does it consist of in the case of SI initiatives, and why is social learning important – even foundational – for SI initiatives as well as wider society? The brief also, brief provides insight into the role of networks in social learning for social innova...