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The Dynamics of Transitions: A Socio-Technical Perspective

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... Transition studies have endeavoured to explain large socio-technical transitions but have also analysed emerging technologies. The Multilevel Perspective (MLP) claims that changes in socio-technical systems-and consequently in how the societal services are provided-can only be understood by analysing interactions among processes across three levels of aggregation, namely landscape, regime and niche (Frank W. Geels & Schot, 2010). Regimes represent the main institutional conditions for the system functioning (F. ...
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Current societal challenges pose different problems, such as the need to change energy systems. New and emerging technologies or technological fields often have critical roles in solutions. Stimulating and accelerating the development and diffusion of new technologies are common agendas for public policy debates, which are informed by various analytical frameworks. For emerging technological fields, scholars have applied the Technological System Innovation (TIS) framework. However, TIS conceptual and analytical limitations have led to constraints in informing policies. This thesis advances this debate by demonstrating how a new TIS conceptualisation for systemic problems and blocking mechanisms (TIS hindering factors) improves policy recommendations. I propose a conceptual framework that enables the identification and analysis of policy mixes for the diffusion of emerging technologies. Despite TIS literature's long tradition, I show that a more accurate definition of TIS hindering factors enhances the framework explanatory power for a higher diversity of cases. This conceptual improvement depends on addressing the unclear or incomplete definitions, the lack of explanation of interdependent TIS hindering factors and the vague explanation of contextual influences. To this end, I propose a mechanism-based conceptual framework that understands blocking mechanisms as causal pathways linking systemic problems (causes) to poor system functioning (outcomes). I argue that detailing the causal pathway in activities and actors better explains system malfunctioning. Hence, it is possible to discuss interdependencies patterns of TIS hindering factors. The policy implications of the proposed framework entail that TIS can inform policy through systemic goals to mitigate systemic problems, activity goals to mitigate activities in blocking mechanisms and contextual goals to support the contextual influences of activities in blocking mechanisms. This mechanism-based framework is applied to the biogas case in Brazil. Although biogas technologies in Brazil have a huge potential and a long history, few studies have examined biogas in Brazil as a technological field. Besides, this case presents all the features to explore the new framework: several contexts and interdependent hindering factors. An innovative methodology was developed combining event history analysis and 24 in-depth interviews to describe systemic problems with a theory-building process tracing to unpack the blocking mechanisms. The empirical finds demonstrate that the evolution of geographically embedded sectoral regulations and infrastructures and their interactions have been responsible for major changes in the biogas field in Brazil. The findings also indicate that the low level of knowledge of biogas among players, the divergent frames and financial conditions and the limited spectrum of interactions are the primary causes of system hindrance. These causes manifested themselves in five blocking mechanisms, which elucidate the interdependence of systemic problems. Still, the results reveal the need for a national agenda composed of five systemic goals, the necessity of coordinating these systemic goals, and how macro or external factors may counteract goals. Finally, this thesis contributes to TIS and emerging technologies literature by providing a mechanism-based explanation of TIS hindering factors, an analytical method to consider contextual influences in TIS and discussing patterns of contextual influences and interdependence of TIS hindering factors.
... Rotmans und Loorbach fächern dieses komplexitätstheoretische Transition-Modell steuerungstheoretisch noch weiter auf, indem sie das Mehrebenen-Konzept sozio-technischer Systeminnovation (Geels 2004;Geels/Schot 2010;Rip/Kemp 1998) (Kemp/Rotmans 2007). Diese neuen, reflexiven Formen des Umgangs mit Ungewissheit lassen sich auch als »Realexperimente« beschreiben (Groß u. a. 2005;Groß 2014 Breitere Mobilisierungsphasen von Umweltbewegungen sind meist auch Teil umfassenderer gesellschaftlicher »Protestzyklen« (Brand 1990, Tarrow 1989, die ihnen eine jeweils andere ideologische Färbung und Stoßrichtung verleihen. ...
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... This applies not only to the management of the biological processes involved in crop production, but also to the wider economic, social and cultural context in which food production and consumption occur. (Geels and Schot, 2010). ...
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... Over the past two to three decades a new body of research has emerged focusing on sustainability transitions in so-called socio-technical systems (STS), i.e. those systems encompassing co-evolutionary dynamics of change among technological, socio-cultural, economic, institutional and policy dimensions [18]. Several approaches have been developed to deal with them [19], ranging from strategic niche management (STM), to Technological Innovation Systems (TIS) to Multi-Level Perspective (MLP). ...
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