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Social‐Ecological Transformation



Social-ecological transformation” is an umbrella term which describes recent political, socioeconomic, and cultural shifts resulting from attempts to address the social-ecological crisis. On the one hand, think tanks and international organizations have issued reports which provide for an interpretation of the crisis and propose ways out of it. Their common denominator is that economic growth can be reconciled with social and environmental objectives. On the other hand, there is an academic debate in progress which at least in part addresses the crisis in more fundamental ways, challenging not only existing technologies and market structures, but also the underlying patterns of production and consumption. It is informed by social ecology, practice theory and political ecology. This entry presents these two strands of the debate and suggests a combination of political ecology and critical political economy as a means for better understanding the crisis and for informing the emancipatory strategies designed to address it.
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Ulrich Brand
University of Vienna, Austria
Markus Wissen
Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
Social-ecological transformation is an umbrella
term which describes political, socioeconomic,
and cultural shifts resulting from attempts to
address the socioecological crisis. Under this
conceptual and epistemic heading, such terms as
green, great or social-ecological transition, great
or societal transformation, green economy, and
sociotechnical transition have increasingly come
into use. Their goal is to provide a comprehensive
understanding of current global environmental
change and to contribute to a social and political
strategy for dealing with the crisis. Research pro-
grams for the social sciences have been oriented
accordingly (Hackmann and St Clair 2012).
The concepts and related debates have gained
specic importance, rst, due to the increasing
acknowledgment that existing sectoralized and
top-down forms of global or regional environ-
mental management have failed and, second, in
view of the “multiple crises” of the nancial
system, the economy, nature, energy provision,
and food. There is a strong consensus in the
literature that profound societal changes will be
required in order to get a grip on these multiple
crises. In the context of this consensus, however,
the socioecological crisis is approached from the
positions of divergent normative interests and
dierent theoretical perspectives, with the result
The International Encyclopedia of Geography.
Edited by Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, and Richard A. Marston.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0690
that a variety of dierent and even contrasting
analyses and proposals concerning the ways out
of the crisis have emerged (Brand et al. 2013).
The following noncomprehensive overview
rst addresses important agship reports issued
mainly by political organizations and think
tanks. These are seen as indicators of a shift of
perception within state apparatuses on various
spatial scales and as an attempt to shape the
corridor of social-ecological transformation.
Second, key aspects are presented of the aca-
demic debate which have to some extent
inuenced these political agship reports, but
have also raised more fundamental theoretical
and political questions. In the outlook, conclu-
sions are drawn regarding a critical perspective
on social-ecological transformation.
Social-ecological transformation
in agship reports
1. The concept of a green economy, which puts
forward the claim of being able to overcome
the economic and ecological crisis, was
promoted before and around the Rio +20
Conference in June 2012. The United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
started its Green Economy Initiative in 2008.
In 2011, it issued a comprehensive report
in which it identied a “widespread disil-
lusionment with our prevailing economic
paradigm, a sense of fatigue emanating from
the many concurrent crises and market
failures experienced during the very rst
decade of the new millennium, including
especially the nancial and economic crisis
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of 2008. But at the same time, we have
seen increasing evidence of a way forward,
a new economic paradigm – one in which
material wealth is not delivered perforce at
the expense of growing environmental risks,
ecological scarcities and social disparities”
(UNEP 2011a, 1).
2. In line with the United Nations Devel-
opment Programme (UNDP), the United
Nations Department of Economic and
Social Aairs (UN DESA) argues for a
great green technological transformation,with
a scaling up of clean technologies, waste
reduction, and sustainable agriculture. In
its report with the same title, it states that
a green economy “embodies the promise
of a new development paradigm, whose
application has the potential to ensure the
preservation of the earth’s ecosystem along
new economic growth pathways while
contributing at the same time to poverty
reduction” (UN DESA 2011, v).
3. The European Commission has developed
a plan for sustainable growth: the promotion
of a resource-light, ecological, and com-
petitive economy. In a communication of
September 2011, the commission stated the
necessity to fundamentally transform the
European economy within the time span
of one generation. It saw reducing resource
use and increasing resource eciency as key
mechanisms for coping with environmental
problems and resource shortages and, at the
same time, strengthening European com-
petitiveness (European Commission 2011;
for a similar approach see the green growth
strategy of the OECD 2011).
4. An example for an initiative at the national
level is a report by the German Federal
Government’s Advisory Council on Global
Change (WBGU) entitled “Social Con-
tract for Sustainability.” Its plea for a great
transformation (WBGU 2011) specically
refers to Karl Polanyi’s concept in which he
explains the passage to industrial capitalism
during the nineteenth century, in order to
emphasize the magnitude of the socioeco-
logical challenge. One point of departure
is the assumed global transformation of
values toward a sensitization for ecological
questions (WBGU 2011). In order to pro-
mote and strengthen this transformation,
the report states that a new “global social
contract” (WBGU 2011, 8, 276) is needed.
Central to realizing the great transformation,
along with the transformation of values, are
“pioneers of change” (such as innovative
individuals, NGOs, and companies in all
sectors of society and the economy), and a
“proactive state” (WBGU 2011, 203). The
latter is to create an adequate framework
for change agents and to promote required
The common denominator of these reports
and strategy papers is that they consider eco-
nomic growth desirable, necessary, and capable
of reconciliation with the environment. They
express, rst, a belief, akin to that which pre-
vailed at the beginning of the sustainable devel-
opment discourse in the early 1990s, that com-
prehensive win–win situations can be created;
and second, rm trust in the existing political
and economic institutions and elites, which they
see as both able and willing to guide this process.
The shortcomings to particularly focus on are:
rst, the concepts argue for strong regulatory
frameworks and thus neglect the prevailing
power relations. In the current crisis, regulatory
frameworks tend to develop in an authoritarian
direction in order to secure access to resources
for particular countries or regions (Lander
2011). Moreover, the economy which is to be
politically regulated is mainly understood as the
formal capitalist market economy. Accordingly,
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gender perspectives and their focus on social
reproduction and reproductive work are largely
absent in the debate about a green economy
(Deutscher Frauenrat 2011).
Second, whereas a relative decoupling of eco-
nomic growth from resource use and environ-
mental impact can be observed in many advanced
capitalist economies, it is far from clear how the
necessary absolute reduction might be achieved
within the paradigm of economic growth. Since
2008, strategies for coping with the multiple
crises have not gone hand in hand with the
reorientation of production and consumption
patterns designed to promote sustainability.
They thus face the danger that improvements in
resource eciency may be overcompensated by
the quantity of resources consumed in a growing
economy (UNEP 2011b).
Third, neoliberal open-market policies and
erce competition have led to deindustrialization
in many countries of the Global South. What is
reasonable from a neoclassical perspective is that
production that takes place where it is econom-
ically most ecient has pushed many countries
into the new/old strategy of resource extrac-
tivism (Lang and Mokrani 2013). In most coun-
tries in Latin America, even in Brazil and Mex-
ico, this seems to be the only viable development
strategy capable of alleviating poverty. And it is
the ip side of the green economy, since the rare
earth metals needed for green high-tech products
mostly come from the countries of the south.
Finally, in addition to the universalization of
the Western model of production, globalization
implies what can be called an “imperial mode
of living” (Brand and Wissen 2013). The logic
of globalized liberal markets is reected in the
everyday practices in which access to cheap
and often unsustainably produced commodities
and labor power are normalized. Currently, this
logic is being universalized among the upper and
middle classes of newly industrialized countries.
The social relations underlying the imperial
mode of living, and possible ways for overcom-
ing them, have hardly been challenged at all
during this crisis and have been insuciently
reected in the reports cited above.
The academic debate about
social-ecological transformation
Aside from the political-strategic debate, there
is also an academic debate over social-ecological
transformation. Most of the approaches here have
a longer history. Nevertheless, like the political
debate, the academic one has gained momentum
in the context of the current multiple crises.
The various contributions emphasize, rst, that
socioeconomic, political, and cultural changes
have to go beyond incremental steps and toward
particular policy elds, such as climate change
or biodiversity policies. Second, transformation
is understood as a manifold nonlinear process,
since it deals with dynamic, multidimensional,
and complex systems as well as potential tipping
points. Third, it is acknowledged that technical
innovation is necessary, but not sucient, while
social innovation is central to social-ecological
transformation (Brand et al. 2013).
Within this framework, several approaches can
be distinguished, as follows.
1. The concept of social metabolism/socioecological
transition developed in the interdisciplinary
context of the Vienna Institute of Social
Ecology. It conceptualizes social-ecological
transformation from the perspective of the
use of energy and material. The history of
humankind is understood as a succession of
“sociometabolic regimes” that dier in their
energy sources and in the “colonization”
of nature. Hunters and gatherers, the rst
sociometabolic regime, relied on the solar
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energy stored in the plants and animals
available on their territory, but did not
systematically inuence the reproduction
of these resources. By contrast, agrarian
societies, while still relying mainly on solar
energy, started to systematically intervene
in nature – to “colonize” it – in order to
enhance its productivity.
Industrial societies, the thus far last stage of
human development, invented increasingly
sophisticated and, at the same time, destruc-
tive forms of the colonization of nature.
Even more important, they replaced repro-
ducing biomass as the main source of energy
with fossil biomass, which now, given the
prevailing patterns of production and con-
sumption in the Global North and the fact
that two thirds of the world’s population
are currently in transition from the agrarian
to the industrial regime, is imminently
threatened with exhaustion. Given further
that the remaining fossil resources cannot
be burned without exacerbating global
warming, the social metabolism of industrial
society today faces a fundamental crisis
(Haberl et al. 2011). The current pattern can
thus be understood as a “structural exhaus-
tion of opportunities” (Fischer-Kowalski
2011) of the existing sociometabolic regime.
It has given rise to a social-ecological trans-
formation which may either take on the
form of a catastrophic break with industrial
metabolism or, if the patterns of energy
generation and consumption are radically
changed, may result in a new, sustainable
sociometabolic regime.
2. Whereas the concept of social metabolism
is mainly concerned with the physical basis
of the social-ecological transformation,
transition research and management focus on
societal and institutional aspects as well as
on technological and social innovation.
Furthermore, their temporal and thematic
scope is signicantly narrower than that
of the social metabolism/socioecological
transition approach. Starting from the anal-
ysis of concrete transition processes in such
sectors as energy and agriculture, transi-
tion research has developed a “multilevel
concept” of major societal shifts toward
sustainability (Verbong and Geels 2010),
according to which transitions often origi-
nate in societal “niches,” then spread to the
level of “regimes” (institutional structures),
and nally contribute to transforming
“landscapes” (the overall social, political,
economic, and cultural setting). Radical
innovation is considered to take place pri-
marily in niches, while at the mesolevel of
regimes, changes occur more incremen-
tally because of path dependencies and
lock-in processes. The interplay of the
three levels is key to sustainability transi-
tions which are understood as “long-term,
multidimensional, and fundamental transfor-
mation processes through which established
sociotechnical systems shift to more sustain-
able modes of production and consumption”
(Markard, Raven, and Truer 2012, 956).
Transitions can be the results of evolutions
and/or of clear-cut goals.
Transition management aims to utilize the
ndings of transition research in order to
inform and shape the governance of con-
crete reform processes (Kemp, Loorbach,
and Rotmans 2007). Collaboration between
actors and learning processes are funda-
mental. Governance can inuence cultures
and discourses, actors and structures, as
well as innovations in order to accelerate
and trigger transitions. However, com-
mand and control strategies are not possible
owing to the complexity and uncertainty
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of transition processes. The transition man-
agement approach sees its role in the debate
on social-ecological transformation as pro-
viding methodologies which are of practical
and policy relevance (Wesely et al. 2014).
3. Transition research and management has
been criticized by proponents of approaches
in the tradition of practice theories (see Røpke
2009 for an overview). According to these
theories, there is a producer and manager
bias in transition management. Consumers
and complex congurations of everyday life
are treated more or less as external to the
system of innovation. However, according
to Shove and Walker, they are a constitutive
part of it. Neglecting them conceptually
is like an “act of writing to an audience
that might not be listening” (Shove and
Walker 2008). The crucial concept for a
better understanding of the causes of the
socioecological crisis, and for discerning
possible ways out of it, is that of social practice.
It refers to shared behavioral routines con-
stituted by sets of interconnected elements:
the social and political institutions that
facilitate them, the sociotechnical congu-
rations, such as the physical infrastructures,
that enable them, the available knowledge
and prevailing symbolic orientations that,
consciously or not, guide them, and the
forms of power that are inscribed in all these
elements (Spaargaren 2011).
Because of its habitualized character, an
environmentally detrimental social practice,
such as driving a car, is only to a very limited
extent accessible to intentional steering and
management or to consciousness-raising
campaigns. This makes social-ecological
transformation a far more complicated
process than it is assumed to be in transition
research and management. It is a process
which cannot be inuenced from any
preferential entry point, but which has to
address the various elements which con-
stitute social practices (Shove and Walker
2010). Overcoming automobility, to take
this example, would require an under-
standing of driving, not only as a form
of movement with the intent of relatively
rapidly overcoming a distance, but rather,
too, as an issue which has to be addressed
in terms of the prevailing and power-laden
conceptions of progress, freedom, and
masculinity and their institutional and
infrastructural manifestations.
4. The central motives and arguments in the
context of the degrowth debate maintain that
the orientation toward economic growth as
the crucial point of reference of economic
policy and as an indicator of prosperity and
quality of life no longer holds (Kallis 2011).
The issue of the suitability, or lack thereof,
of markets as a mechanism for dealing with
ecological and social problems is another
core point of commonality. Some authors
argue for an internalization of ecological and
social costs, others go further and add that
more structural changes as well as a decol-
onization of economics and of our minds
from the domination of economism, and a
move toward a dierent collective imagery,
are the preconditions for meaningful change.
Degrowth is “a multifaceted political project
that aspires to mobilize support for a change
of direction, at the macro-level of eco-
nomic and political institutions, and at the
micro-level of personal values and aspira-
tions. Income and material comfort is to
be reduced for many along the way, but
the goal is that this is not experienced as
welfare loss” (Kallis 2011, 878). Normative
principles, such as cooperation and social
justice, are being reintroduced, while social
movements are seen as the major subjects of
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change. Many contributions to the debate
do not focus so much on crises or secular
trends of diminishing growth rates in highly
industrialized countries. Rather, they pro-
pose a “voluntary, smooth and equitable
transition to a regime of lower production
and consumption” (Schneider, Kallis, and
Martinez-Alier 2010, 511). Degrowth is
thought of as a conscious societal process
based on a change of values.
5. Contributions from a critical geography/
political ecology perspective (Robbins 2004;
Perreault, McCarthy, and Bridge 2015)
dier from the approaches described above
in focusing more explicitly on issues of
power and domination. Where the social
metabolism approach addresses mainly
physical materiality, political ecology also
takes into account the materiality of social
structures. In political ecology, the terrains
and processes of governance, which tran-
sition management tries to shape in order
to facilitate sustainability transitions, are
less understood as solutions than as part of
the problem. Like practice theories, polit-
ical ecology focuses on the reproduction
of social relations, but also addresses the
contradictions inherent in them and, unlike
the degrowth debate, the political ecology
perspective sees economic growth as a
social relation intrinsically linked to societal
domination that reproduces social structures.
From a political ecology perspective, nature is
societally – that is, socioeconomically, culturally,
and politically/institutionally – produced and
appropriated. The focus is not on “the envi-
ronment,” but rather on the social forms of
the appropriation of nature: that is, the forms
in which such basic social needs as food and
housing, mobility, communications, and health
and reproduction are satised. This is not to deny
the material peculiarities of biophysical processes
for they are, under certain circumstances, no
longer reproducible, however, they are shaped
by society. And conversely, the materiality of
nature shapes societal processes. Importantly,
the production of scale is considered crucial in
transforming the conditions of access to natural
resources and reshaping societal nature relations.
Political ecology argues that the metabolism of
human society with nature, which is essentially
mediated by labor, assumes a particular form in
capitalist society: the production of use values for
the sake of exchange value and/or prot; a hier-
archy between capital and wage labor as well as
other forms of labor; and, moreover, the develop-
ment of a modern state separated from the cap-
italist economy and the class relationships. The
dynamics of the capitalist economy consists of the
valorization of human labor power and of nature.
Therefore, a crucial assumption regarding
social-ecological transformation is that in mod-
ern capitalist societies, change takes place
continually. “The bourgeoisie cannot exist with-
out constantly revolutionizing the instruments
of production, and thereby the relations of pro-
duction, and with them the whole relations of
society. Conservation of the old modes of pro-
duction in unaltered form, was, on the contrary,
the rst condition of existence for all earlier
industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of
production, uninterrupted disturbance of all
social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and
agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from
all earlier ones” (Marx and Engels 1998/1848,
243). The decisive question is what kind of logic
of transformation is to predominate.
For a theoretically adequate understanding
of transformation, it is useful to link political
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ecology with critical political economy and social
theory, especially critical state and hegemony
theory. In so doing it can be shown that capi-
talist societies, with their tendencies to destroy
their own material foundations, can in certain
ways develop stabilizing forms of the societal
appropriation of nature. The societal regulation
of interaction with nature is possible and does
in fact occur; herein lies a central dynamic of
politics (Görg 2011). The regulation of societal
nature relations does not imply abolition of the
largely destructive forms of appropriation of
nature. However, the destruction of nature will
not necessarily become an urgent problem for
overall capitalist development, since dangerous
negative impacts can be spatially externalized
and temporarily postponed. This can be seen in
climate change, many eects of which will occur
in the future; those that are indeed manifested
in the present usually occur in more vulnerable,
peripheral places. Crises will particularly occur
at the local and regional levels – or are already
occurring there today. However, that fact does
not necessarily call the fundamental structures
and developmental dynamics of capitalism into
question. With regard to a possible scarcity of
resources, we can also see that in the interplay
of fears of global scarcity and local valoriza-
tion strategies, the regulation of societal nature
relations today means new exploration for tar
sands, fracking for natural gas in slate forma-
tions, energy crops which involve the control
and utilization of land, or a partial switch to
solar energy. Insights into the changing forms
of capitalist regulation help to understand the
direction of capitalist development, for example,
toward a selective greening of capitalism.
The thus enhanced critical concept of trans-
formation focuses on complex societal and
social-ecological relations and, in particular,
on their dominant development dynamics.
Moreover, it focuses on structures and processes
by means of which society organizes its mate-
rial foundations, including its metabolism with
nature – socioeconomically, politically, culturally,
and subjectively.
Such an analysis would consider the struc-
ture and power of sustainability discourses
(Brand 2010) and the tendencies toward the
“neo-liberalization of nature” (Castree 2008),
that is, the shifting politico-economic and
sociocultural dynamics of the appropriation of
elements of nature. And it would acknowledge
the still powerful structures, interests, and instru-
ments of nancial market capitalism. It would
ascertain that in spite of all tendencies pointing
toward greater sustainability, the state and the
international political institutional system have
tended to reinforce the dominant conditions
and developments. The term “imperial way of
living” (Brand and Wissen 2013) identies a
determining factor why very little is happening
politically, along with such other factors as power
strategies, including repression of criticism and
alternatives, and political co-optation.
Again, this has political-strategic implications.
First, research into social-ecological transforma-
tion needs to consider and evaluate the various
strategies and possibilities for dealing with the
multiple crises, that is, business-as-usual or more
authoritarian alternatives, an imperial deepen-
ing of global fragmentation, social-democratic
steering at various spatial levels, or more
radical-democratic alternatives.
Second, analyzing hegemony, capitalist regula-
tion, and its social forms means considering how
the corridor of both top-down and bottom-up
alternatives tends to be systematically narrowed
down to a form of capitalist ecological modern-
ization. It remains to be seen whether projects
like the greening of the economy or green cap-
italism will be potentially capable of ushering in
a new accumulation dynamic by changing the
energy and resource base.
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The question of a democratic shaping of soci-
ety and of societal nature relations would appear
crucial. That implies the democratic control of
resource use, but also of the manifold processes
of production and consumption. This is an
important research perspective to determine
what the already existing democratic forms
of resource control is, which struggles will be
necessary in order to generalize them, and how
they are to be stabilized institutionally. It must
also be determined which demands can be made
in a comprehensive sense for the democratic
structuring of society’s interaction with nature
and to what extent the concrete strategies for
a green economy or a green new deal have a
supportive eect or not. Taking the perspectives
presented into account, it would be necessary to
evaluate whether, and to what extent, a “passive
revolution” in the form of an eco-capitalist
modernization might take place in response to
the multiple crises and how it could be addressed
from an emancipatory perspective.
The authors wish to thank Phil Hill for his excel-
lent language editing.
SEE ALSO: Commodication of nature;
Consumption; Democracy; Political ecology;
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Please note that the abstract and keywords will not be included in the printed book, but
are required for the online presentation of this book which will be published on Wiley
Online Library ( If the abstract and keywords are not
present below, please take this opportunity to add them now.
The abstract should be a short paragraph of between 150– 200 words in length and there
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Abstract: “Social-ecological transformation” is an umbrella term which describes recent political,
socioeconomic, and cultural shifts resulting from attempts to address the social-ecological crisis. On
the one hand, think tanks and international organizations have issued reports which provide for an
interpretation of the crisis and propose ways out of it. Their common denominator is that economic
growth can be reconciled with social and environmental objectives. On the other hand, there is an
academic debate in progress which at least in part addresses the crisis in more fundamental ways,
challenging not only existing technologies and market structures, but also the underlying patterns of
production and consumption. It is informed by social ecology, practice theory and political ecology.
This entry presents these two strands of the debate and suggests a combination of political ecology
and critical political economy as a means for better understanding the crisis and for informing the
emancipatory strategies designed to address it.
Keywords: environmental crisis; environmental politics; political ecology; sustainability
... Such a model has delivered positive ecological outcomes, such as increases in forest cover [19], complexity and connectivity of fragmented landscapes [20], and the reintroduction of wildlife into restored habitats [21]. However, beyond ecological outcomes, restoration projects influence, and depend on, social-ecological system transformations that intrinsically require radical interventions and innovation [10,22,23]. To extend the benefits and impact of restoration by transformational change, new approaches to planning, implementing, and monitoring restoration initiatives are needed. ...
Free access link until April 28, 2023: Ecosystem restoration conventionally focuses on ecological targets. However, while ecological targets are crucial to mobilizing political, social, and financial capital, they do not encapsulate the need to: integrate social, economic, and ecological dimensions and systems approaches; reconcile global targets and local objectives; and measure the rate of progress toward multiple and synergistic goals. Restoration is better conceived as an inclusive social-ecological process that integrates diverse values, practices, knowledge, and restoration objectives across temporal and spatial scales and stakeholder groups. Taking a more process-based approach will ultimately enable greater social-ecological transformation, greater restoration effectiveness, and more long-lasting benefits to people and nature across time and place.
... Overcoming the current challenges caused by climate change and the crisis of society's relationships with nature requires societal as well as economic transformation [1]. In order to avoid unintended consequences of policies aimed at transformation, it is necessary to take a comprehensive perspective that pursues several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) simultaneously. ...
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Overcoming the current challenges caused by climate change and the crisis of society’s relationships with nature requires societal as well as economic transformation [...]
... Brown, 2016;Leach et al., 2010;O'Brien, 2012;Stirling, 2014Stirling, , 2015, social and political ecology, political economy (e.g. Brand, 2016;Brand and Wissen, 2016;Görg et al., 2017) and socio-technical studies (e.g. Geels and Schot, 2010;Grin et al., 2010;Ingram, 2015). ...
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In this paper, we argue that small initiatives can contribute to larger transformations if they challenge and unmake incumbent unsustainable paradigms, and we demonstrate how the application of the social-ecological transformation framework helps to operationalize the analysis of paradigm shifts across different levels of transformation. Empirically, we assess the contribution of Seed Commons initiatives to agri-food systems transformations, taking the case of the organic breeding association Kultursaat e.V. At the macro level, the analysis reveals that the paradigms of 'materialistic culture and growth', 'control and autonomy of humans over nature' and 'expert knowledge and specialization' are deeply embedded in the dominant agri-food system. Kultursaat challenges them by promoting alternative narratives such as agroecology, food sovereignty, farmers' rights and resilience. At the micro and meso level, we apply a set of evaluation principles that reveal the transformative character and partial transformative impact of Seed Commons. Applying the framework to agri-food systems can bring an enhanced theoretical understanding of dynamics of change into the agri-food transformation discourse, link small-scale initiatives to wider processes of transformation, and provide a systematic research approach to enhance comparability across case studies. The framework is well suited to bring together even evolving transformation literatures.
... In this paper, we choose to use the notion of transformation, both to move away from an overly sectoral and technological approach, which has long dominated the sustainability transitions studies, and to emphasise the idea of systemic changes within societies in all their dimensions. In fact, we consider transformation as systemic, radical and voluntarist changes in the political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of modern societies (Brand and Wissen, 2017) in response to the wicked problems they face (Levin et al., 2012) changes that are compatible with the planetary boundaries and that meet the objectives of social, spatial and environmental justice. Transformation trajectories therefore emerge from co-evolutionary interactions amongst several sectors (e.g., energy, food, transport) and cannot be considered in a mono-sectoral manner. ...
Driven by the need for radical change in our practices and values to escape crises, studies on sustainability transitions have multiplied in recent years. Such radical transformations are situated in space. A spatial approach towards transformative processes can thus inform about the conditions and contexts of such dynamics. Recent publications on the geography of transition tackle this issue but still give little importance to the constructed and relational nature of place that frames interactions between niche, regime and landscape. This paper presents a conceptual framework for the spatial analysis of transformation dynamics by adopting the French-speaking literature on territoire. We attempt to show that the conceptualisation of space through the French territorial lens appears highly relevant in the study of sustainability transitions, notably because the concept of territoire allows to grasp three fundamental dimensions of transformation (the material, institutional and ideal dimension) and their interactions. It thus enables studying transformation dynamics in a systemic manner. Furthermore, this concept allows researchers to grasp multiple and intertwined power relationships involved in transformation processes by tackling governance issues through the spatial lens.
... Dies käme aus Perspektive der Autoren einer Verteidigung des Status-Quo verkehrlicher Abläufe im Alltag unter den Bedingungen des hegemonialen Verkehrsregimes / ‚Systems [privater] Automobilität' (Urry, 2004) gleich. Vielmehr müsste es um eine Nivellierung der alltäglichen verkehrlichen Abläufe im Quartiersleben gehen; durchaus unter der Prämisse einer sozial-ökologischen Transformation im Sinne der ökologischen und sozialen Gerechtigkeit (siehe etwa Brand & Wissen, 2017b). Diesbezüglich adressiert der Beitrag eine integrierte Stadt-und Verkehrsplanung mit ihren Möglichkeiten zur ‚strategischen Planung' (Wiechmann, 2008), über die eine mögliche Rekonfiguration von Quell-, Ziel-und Durchgangsverkehren mittels der Implementierung neuer Strukturmomente aus der Letzte-Meile-Logistik in einem ‚Mittel-Ziel-Prozess' (ebd., S. 44) organisiert werden könnte. ...
Die wachsende Vielfalt an Mobilitätsformen führt im 21. Jahrhundert zu einer Zunahme mobilitätsbezogener Entscheidungsmöglichkeiten. Gleichzeitig stellt der voranschreitende Klimawandel heutige Gesellschaften vor die Herausforderung, ihre CO2-Emissionen langfristig zu senken. Alternative, zukunftsfähige Mobilitätskonzepte gewinnen dadurch an Bedeutung. Damit diese wirksam gestaltet und kommuniziert werden können, bedarf es eines umfassenden Verständnisses der Entscheidungslogiken, die dem Mobilitätsverhalten zugrunde liegen. Dafür gilt es, die klassischen Perspektiven der Mobilitätsforschung - welche insbesondere die Mobilitätsinfrastruktur sowie die Sozialstruktur umfassen - um eine Betrachtung der Werte und Einstellungen der mobilen Personen zu erweitern. In diesem Sinne beschreibt der Beitrag einen Ansatz zur Integration sozialer Milieus in die Mobilitätsforschung. Als merkmalsbasierte Verfahren der Typenbildung können diese Aufschluss über die Relevanz sozialpsychologischer Faktoren geben. Eine Möglichkeit zur Operationalisierung des Ansatzes bieten die Sinus-Milieus, die als anerkanntes und umfassend erforschtes Gesellschaftsmodell auf einer breiten empirischen Datenbasis aufbauen und über Potenziale zur Verknüpfung mit bereits etablierten, mobilitätsspezifischen Studien verfügen.
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The purpose of this second Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook is to systematically analyze and assess the plausibility of certain well-defined climate futures based on present knowledge of social drivers and physical processes. In particular, we assess the plausibility of those climate futures that are envisioned by the 2015 Paris Agreement, namely holding global warming to well below 2°C and, if possible, to 1.5°C, relative to pre-industrial levels (UNFCCC 2015, Article 2 paragraph 1a). The world will have to reach a state of deep decarbonization by 2050 to be compliant with the 1.5°C goal. We therefore work with a climate future scenario that combines emissions and temperature goals.
Der vorliegende Beitrag sieht in dem sich konflikthaft entladenden Spannungsverhältnis von Lieferverkehren und anderen verkehrlichen Bewegungen im Quartier ein neues Gelegenheitsfenster zum Anstoß einer sozial-ökologischen Verkehrswende vor Ort. Konzepte aus der politischen Ökologie werden als normativer Kompass vorgeschlagen, um die Reproduktion nicht-nachhaltiger Strukturmomente im Zuge der Verkehrswende zu vermeiden. Der Beitrag skizziert vor diesem Hintergrund mittels Mixed-Methods-Approach Ideen zur Rekonfiguration verkehrlicher Abläufe am Beispiel des Hamburger Karolinenviertels.
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El objetivo de este trabajo es identificar y analizar las fases evolutivas de dos sistemas sedimentarios costeros durante los últimos 120 años en términos de coberturas del suelo y su relación con la dinámica antrópica, así como la percepción social que de estos se ha tenido durante el periodo de estudio. Los sistemas estudiados son (1) la franja costera del delta del Llobregat (Barcelona) y (2) el antiguo sistema de dunas de Guanarteme (Gran Canaria). Desde hace 120 años, e incluso desde mucho antes, los cambios ecológicos y sociales han ido cogidos de la mano, resultando en una evolución que puede llegar a ser compleja de entender actualmente sin una perspectiva histórica. Específicamente, se intentarán conocer los cambios socio-ecológicos y el rol que han desempeñado dichos sistemas a nivel social en cada etapa estudiada. Por su parte, el uso de documentos históricos tanto escritos como cartográficos, fotografías aéreas y literatura científica, han hecho posible la caracterización histórica de los sistemas objetos de estudio y su análisis en términos de coberturas del suelo y dinámica antrópica. --- The aim of this work is to identify and to analyze the evolutionary phases of two coastal sedimentary systems during the last 120 years in terms of land covers and their relationship with the human dynamics as well as the social perception people had of them during the study period. The systems studied are (1) the coastal fringe of the delta del Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain) and (2) the former dune system of Guanarteme (Gran Canaria, Spain). 120 years ago, and even from much earlier, the ecological and social changes have gone together, resulting in an evolution that can be difficult to understand currently without a historic perspective. Specifically, an attempt will be made to know the socio-ecological changes and the role that these systems have played at the social level in each stage studied. Furthermore, the use of historical written documents as well as cartography, aerial photographs and scientific literature, have made possible the historical characterization of the studied systems and their analysis in terms of land covers and human dynamics.
Cooperatives serve a competitive yardstick role in markets dominated by market power such as monopsony or monopoly. This paper argues they can also serve a normative yardstick role in efforts to provide contextual social indicators for sustainability reporting that aims to instigate transformative change. The Statement on the Cooperative Identity, which includes cooperative values, principles, and purpose of associative economic organizing (, can serve as a blueprint for the construction of social sustainability indicators. The paper then addresses two issues: one, it answers the question what should cooperatives measure and why; and two, it suggests the framework for transformative indicators informed by the purpose of cooperative organizing. In particular, cooperative enterprise model contributes to fair income distribution, promotes economic democracy, de-commodifies necessities and fictitious commodities, and contributes to community development by investing in the real economy. These impact areas ought to be measured and disclosed.
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Over the last two million years, humans have colonized almost the entire biosphere on Earth, thereby creating socio-ecological systems in which fundamental patterns and processes are co-regulated by socio-economic and ecological processes. We postulate that the evolution of coupled socio-ecological systems can be characterized by a sequence of relatively stable configurations, here denoted as ‘socio-metabolic regimes’, and comparatively rapid transitions between such regimes. We discern three fundamentally different socio-metabolic regimes: hunter-gatherers, agrarian societies and industrial society. Transitions between these regimes fundamentally change socio-ecological interactions, whereas changes and variations within each regime are gradual. Two-thirds of the world population are currently within a rapid transition from the agrarian to the industrial regime. Many current global sustainability problems are a direct consequence of this transition. The central hypothesis discussed in this article is that industrial society is at least as different from a future sustainable society as it is from the agrarian regime. The challenge of sustainability is, therefore, a fundamental re-orientation of society and the economy, not the implementation of some technical fixes. Based on empirical data for global resource use (material and energy flows, land use), this essay questions the notion that the promotion of eco-efficiency is sufficient for achieving sustainability, and outlines the reasons why a transition to a new socio-metabolic regime is now required. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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Sustainable development requires changes in socio-technical systems and wider societal change - in beliefs, values and governance that co-evolve with technology changes. In this article we present a practical model for managing processes of co-evolution: transition management. Transition management is a multilevel model of governance which shapes processes of co-evolution using visions, transition experiments and cycles of learning and adaptation. Transition management helps societies to transform themselves in a gradual, reflexive way through guided processes of variation and selection, the outcomes of which are stepping stones for further change. It shows that societies can break free from existing practices and technologies, by engaging in co-evolutionary steering. This is illustrated by the Dutch waste management transition. Perhaps transition management constitutes the third way that policy scientists have been looking for all the time, combining the advantages of incrementalism (based on mutual adaptation) with the advantages of planning (based on long-term objectives).
The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology presents a comprehensive and authoritative examination of the rapidly growing field of political ecology. Located at the intersection of geography, anthropology, sociology, and environmental history, political ecology is one of the most vibrant and conceptually diverse fields of inquiry into nature-society relations within the social sciences. The Handbook serves as an essential guide to this rapidly evolving intellectual landscape. With contributions from over 50 leading authors, the Handbook presents a systematic overview of political ecology's origins, practices and core concerns, and aims to advance both ongoing and emerging debates. While there are numerous edited volumes, textbooks, and monographs under the heading 'political ecology,' these have tended to be relatively narrow in scope, either as collections of empirically based (mostly case study) research on a given theme, or broad overviews of the field aimed at undergraduate audiences. The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology is the first systematic, comprehensive overview of the field. With authors from North and South America, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, the Handbook of Political Ecology provides a state of the art examination of political ecology; addresses ongoing and emerging debates in this rapidly evolving field; and charts new agendas for research, policy, and activism. The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology introduces political ecology as an interdisciplinary academic field. By presenting a 'state of the art' examination of the field, it will serve as an invaluable resource for students and scholars. It not only critically reviews the key debates in the field, but develops them. The Handbook will serve as an excellent resource for graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching, and is a key reference text for geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, environmental historians, and others working in and around political ecology. © 2015 Tom Perreault, Gavin Bridge, and James McCarthy. All rights reserved.
Aim: Adenocarcinoma is one of the most common malignant tumors of the small intestine complicating Crohn disease. However, the coexistence of both neoplasms with diverticulosis of small bowel in young age makes this coincidence rare and clinical diagnosis very difficult. Case presentation: We report a case of a woman admitted to our department with acute abdominal pain and fever. The surgical and histological investigation, revealed a rare coexistence that has never been mentioned in the published medical literature. Conclusions: Ileal diverticulosis is not frequent and often asymptomatic as well as adenocarcinoma of small bowel. In this case, those diseases along with Crohn disease leaded the patient to acute symptoms.
Within the environmental social sciences, theories of practices are used by an increasing number of authors to analyze the greening of consumption in the new, global order of reflexive modernity. The use of practices as key methodological units for research and governance is suggested as a way to avoid the pitfalls of the individualist and systemic paradigms that dominated the field of sustainable consumption studies for some decades. With the help of practice theory, environmental governance can be renewed in three particular ways: First, the role and responsibilities (not) to be assigned to individual citizen-consumers in environmental change can be specified. Secondly, objects, technologies and infrastructures can be recognized for their crucial contribution to climate governance without lapsing into technological determinism. Third, the cultural framing of sustainability can be enriched by looking into the forms of excitement generated in shared practices of sustainable consumption. We conclude by discussing the need to investigate the globalization of practices from a post-national perspective in both science and policy.