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... In short, sustainability transition frameworks are interested in system-wide change through the dislocation of the current socio-technical regime(s) and systems of provision (e.g. energy) (Geels & Schot, 2010). Emphasised in their vocabulary, one often finds words like innovation, technology, transport, food systems, systems of provision, business and policymaking, to name a few. ...
... This is evident, for example, in research investigating the energy transition, where the importance of community energy schemes is highlighted (Pellegrini-Masini, 2020;Pellegrini-Masini et al., 2020). These niches are perceived as experimental spaces where more sustainable practices can be 'tested' before their wider dissemination (Geels, 2004(Geels, , 2005Geels & Schot, 2010). Due to the wide range of exemplary practices in the community, the Hare Krishna movement offers a unique case for analysis in the context of sustainability transitions. ...
... Some research (Percy-Smith & Burns, 2013;Walker, 2017) is pointing at the potential of children to play a significant role in their immediate family and social circles, nevertheless the extent that this contribution might influence the ecological transition is unclear, even though it is sensible to hypothesise that the contribution is significant, given their possibility as agents to effect the present and future development of their communities unequivocally longer than adults. Given that transitions appear to occur, thanks to bi-directional, i.e. top-down and bottom-up actions, and that the importance of niches of change in the latter dynamics (bottom-up) has been highlighted (Geels & Schot, 2010), it is worth stressing that at this micro level, actions targeting young generations not only have a place but appear to have the potential to bear the greatest effects. Hence, eco-events could contribute, among other bottom-up initiatives, 1 to support the ecological transition as an impactful element of current ESD of young citizens. ...
... As historians of technology and sustainability transition studies, pioneers Johan Schot and Frank Geels state, during socio-technical transitions, social groups enacting these transitions change their identity (Geels and Schot 2010). Identity is indeed very fluid. ...
Authors adopting socio-technical frameworks to study energy transitions argue that individual behavioural change and the uptake of social and technological innovations on higher-level scales are both imperative for sustainability transitions to come about. However, the way individuals are embedded in the larger system has remained largely unclear. To better understand individual embedment in energy transitions, this paper enriches sustainability transition research with the insights of memory studies. During energy transitions, social actors that enact these transitions change their identity. A core premise of memory studies is that individual and collective remembering cannot do without each other in the constitution of identity. To illustrate the role of memory in energy transitions, this paper conducts a historical case study of the role of housewives in the energy transition to gas and electricity in the Dutch household. By adopting a narrative approach, the historical narratives across the Monthly Magazine of the Dutch Association for Housewives (NVvH), published between 1913 and 1942, are explored. The results show how the master narrative prescribed the guiding principles of the historical narratives that emerged in the energy discourse. However, as part of the flexible nature of memory, a varied ‘menu of stories’ came forward that enabled individuals to identify with different historical narratives, incorporating differing energy sources and drawing on the transformative nature of memory by imagining different energy futures. It is concluded that individual agency in energy transitions moves beyond choices of use and consumption. It rests in the individuals’ ability to identify with a historical narrative that adheres to the way the individual makes sense of the world.
... To further understand the transformation process described above, one possibility for further research is to complement our work with the application of the multi-level perspective (MLP) by Geels and Schot (2010) . The methodology helps to take into account the complexities, multi-layeredness and non-simultaneities in transformation processes and at the same time to radically simplify them. ...
As lignite mining protests and #FridaysForFuture demonstrations gained momentum in Germany and further protests have been developing over time, this paper investigates the various causes and effects of the country’s energy transition. Society and politics alongside economic, environmental, and technological developments have led to a profound and continuous transformation of the energy system, a transformation which is remarkable in terms of reach and speed for an economy of the size of Germany’s. Pressure to transform the country’s entire energy system even faster has recently been levelled due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
From the perspective of the different pillars of sustainability and various stakeholder groups, this paper discusses the influences and their interdependencies towards the status quo of the German energy sector. We have used the cause-and-effect analysis method to answer the question of why major energy generators in Germany are still struggling with the energy transition, as well as the question of why a strategy towards more sustainability is needed to maintain Germany’s industrial strength in the long run. We found that energy transition in Germany is substantially driven by society, which pushes political decisions that lead to an economic transition, while environmental incidents are only triggers for further societal and political doings. Furthermore, technological developments fulfil only needs and do not necessarily hurry ahead of time.
Overall, the article creates a profound understanding of the factors influencing the German energy transition which is deeply embedded in the European energy system.
Land governance deals with the intersections of policies, processes, and institutions on access, use, and interest in land and its resources. Path dependence on land governance can lead to unsustainable land control, shaping people’s livelihoods and well-being. Agency in land governance is well explored. The link between actors, their aims, and their agencies for transformative action has been established. However, these concepts have not sufficiently explained why land governance change can happen. Why certain governance is preferred over others is still open for interpretation. To address this gap, we incorporate insights from the social-ecological systems (SES) and socio-technical systems (STS) studies and add timing and strategic structures in analyzing the transformation process in land governance literature to build a trajectory of land governance changes that indicate ways out of the path dependency in land governance. The trajectory has scholarly novelty in adding ‘where’ (leverage points) and ‘when’ (triggers) to the existing strategic aspects of ‘who’ (actors) and ‘how’ (agency), and linking the four to indicate ways out of the path dependency. The agency of change in land governance emerges only when certain triggers destabilize incumbent land governance. Agencies and leverages are interrelated. Failure to gather momentum leads to inefficient utilization of design leverage, dropping key actors into a barrier of change, wasting the open moment, and missing the opportunity for change.
Energy security has become a key driver of the European Union's (EU) hydrogen ambitions, especially in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its weaponization of gas exports. At the same time, the EU's Hydrogen Strategy relies heavily on imports, which should meet half of the bloc's demand by 2030. This raises a crucial question: Will future hydrogen imports effectively address the EU's historical security of supply concerns, or will they merely perpetuate existing vulnerabilities? To answer that question, this study analyzes the history of natural gas trade in Northwest Europe, using an analytical framework rooted in socio-technical regime theory. The underlying assumption is that, while the future of hydrogen trade is uncertain, its development may echo that of natural gas, given their physical similarities. Our findings reveal that the development of hydrogen markets is more policy-driven and could follow a different trajectory than natural gas, with seaborne (derivative) shipments preceding pipeline trade. The hydrogen market has significant potential to be less unified and concentrated than natural gas markets, reducing the risk of supply disruptions. However, the exact energy security consequences of hydrogen imports depend on choices made today, which will likely establish enduring path dependencies. Therefore, rather than automatically favoring the most cost-effective import pathway, policy-makers should prioritize demand reduction (via efficiency and conservation), diversification (across suppliers, routes, and carriers) and resilience to shocks (facilitated by storage and emergency contingency planning).
The body of sustainability transition studies has developed an approach for analyzing the long-term and complex non-linear dynamics towards a sustainable society. The analytical focus has provided unique insights into multi-layered processes that can fundamentally change (unsustainable) socio-technological systems. At the core of its theoretical framework, the literature shares a multi-level perspective (MLP) to analyze system innovation by accommodating both radical change and dynamic stability in various contexts. Based on the current literature aimed at deepening the MLP, this chapter first offers an integrated model and explores its analytical potential. The model conceptualizes a multi-scalar spatial viewpoint of agency to better capture the trajectories between local sustainability initiatives and multi-dimensional institutions of the systems. The chapter then discusses how such endeavors relate to designing innovation policies and governing their processes, thereby clarifying uncertainties and open-ended policy/political processes characteristic of transition dynamics as well as the ambivalence between short-term contextuality and long-term sustainability orientation. How the dynamics and processes employing the MLP can manage and govern the impossibilities of ex-ante outcome evaluation is also discussed. Finally, this chapter concludes by critically evaluating the notion of a reflexive action framework proposed to navigate policy actors to find and gain desirable transformative change as trajectories continue to move forward.
Brazil stands out for its abundance of organic waste, resulting from its agro-industrial vocation and population density. Although the country presents favorable conditions for the production of biogas, only a small portion of its matrix is destined for this renewable energy, which reveals the need to establish political strategies for its promotion. Based on a documental research of strategic plans and reports from key actors in the biogas sector in Brazil, this study addresses the trajectory, the current scenario, and the political perspectives for renewable energy. The results show that important initiatives have been developed by institutions to optimize the interactions of the socio-technical system, which involves the government, the private sector, as well as research and development institutions. Despite promoting solutions for solid waste management and the energy transition in the country, biogas faces barriers to its diffusion. The strategies developed by these key actors are coherent for the management of social, economic, and environmental problems, although incipient in dealing with the obstacles that prevent Brazil from exploiting the full potential of this renewable energy.
Research and policy on the topics of innovations, technological change, or sustainability often reference stability and instability in relation to shifts between states. These shifts are known as diffusions or transitions, depending on their scale, but attention is not typically paid in equal measure to both the stability and instability. The details needed to define the stable states are often missing or inadequate, reflecting either a misunderstanding of what stability is or an assumption that stability is a default state. Such misunderstandings or assumptions could have serious consequences for how any efforts to understand or manage diffusions, transitions, instability or stability. This paper begins by exploring the details needed to contextualise an observation of stability and contrasts this with the level of detail given to descriptions of stability in past research on diffusions and transitions. The paper then introduces an experiment in which an agent-based model experiences a simulated diffusion in which relative stability is closely observed before, during and after the diffusion. Observed model behaviour is significantly different than theoretical expectations, demonstrates how misunderstandings or assumptions about stability could be contributing to poor management of diffusions, transitions and other socio-technical changes. Improving the management of such changes is especially important for researchers and policy-makers relying on diffusions or transitions as a means of achieving sustainability.KeywordsSustainabilityInnovationDiffusionStabilityDynamic EquilibriumAgent-Based ModelObserver-Dependence