Journal Article

The Politics of Sustainability Transitions

Sustainability transitions are processes of fundamental social change in response to societal challenges. They reflect a particular diagnosis of persistent social problems, in which persistence is attributed to the path dependency of dominant practices and structures (i.e. ‘regimes’), whose resolution requires structural and long-term change.


By their nature, transitions involve politics in the broadest sense of the word. There are recurring calls for an increased attention to the politics of transition highlighting that the existing body of research has failed to consolidate, remain relatively dispersed and lack in systematic comparison of otherwise rich case studies. Therefore, the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning has published a special issue on politics of transition, written and compiled by DRIFT researchers, that reasserts this conviction.


The papers included cast light on this from a range of fields including Environmental Governance, Post-structuralist Theories, Political Science, Policy Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Practice Theory, Political Geography and Development Studies. It takes up the challenge to expand our understanding of the politics of sustainability transitions and highlights the disciplines and ontologies that could be central to this, with the papers in this issue offering important contributions to these debates.



Avelino, F., Grin, J., Jhagroe, S. and Pel, B.



The Politics of Sustainability Transitions, Environmental Policy & Planning, 18(5), 557-567


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November 15, 2016