Reconfigurations in sustainability transitions : a systematic and critical review
Laakso, S., Aro, R., Heiskanen, E., & Kaljonen, M. (2021). Reconfigurations in sustainability transitions : a systematic and critical review. Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, 17(1), 15-31. https://doi.org/10.1080/15487733.2020.1836921
Published inSustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Two streams of literature have become especially prominent in understanding social change toward sustainability within the past decades: the research on socio-technical transitions and applications of social practice theory. The aim of this article is to contribute to efforts to create dialogue between these two approaches. We do this by focusing on the concept of reconfiguration, which has become a much-used, but poorly defined notion in the discussion on sustainability transitions. To understand what is defined as reconfiguration in systems and practices, and how the understanding of reconfiguration in regimes could benefit from insights about reconfiguration in practices, we conducted a systematic and critical literature review of 43 journal articles. The findings showed a trend toward a focus on whole-system reconfiguration and interlinked dynamics between practices of production and consumption. However, our study suggests that a less hierarchical understanding of transitions utilizing insights from practice theory might be fruitful. Future research on sustainability transitions could benefit from addressing the tensions between and within niche and regime practices; the dynamics maintaining and challenging social and cultural norms; the efforts in creating new normalities and in recruiting actors in practices; and investigating the different roles the various actors play in these practices. ...
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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Additional information about fundingThe study is part of the research project “Eating and Energy Use Reconfigured? Disruptions and Novel Transition Pathways in Food and Energy Systems” (EE-TRANS) funded by the Academy of Finland [No. 315897].
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