1st Edition

Social Innovation and Sustainable Consumption Research and Action for Societal Transformation

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book showcases strategic policies for and processes of societal transformation, which are required to address the challenge of sustainability. Based on the latest thinking at the interface of social innovation, sustainable consumption and the transformation of society, the book provides:

      • in-depth discussions at the nexus of sustainable consumption, social innovation and social transformation, highlighting their significance to sustainability-related policy and practice;
      • detailed case studies of social innovation in energy, food, housing and policy which illustrate emerging practice and promising policy, business and civil society interventions; and
      • critical reflections and commentaries on the contribution of social innovation to societal transformation.

    Bringing together aspiring scholars and leading thinkers on this topic, this book leads to compelling new insights for an international audience into the potential of social innovation for sustainable consumption and the transformation of society. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of sustainable consumption, sustainable development, (social) innovation studies and environmental sociology.

    Chapter 1 – Introduction: the Nexus of Social Innovation, Sustainable Consumption and Societal Transformation, Julia Backhaus, Audley Genus, and Julia Wittmayer  Chapter 2 – Conceptualising the Role of Social Innovation in Sustainability Transformations, Alex Haxeltine, Flor Avelino, Julia Wittmayer, Iris Kunze, Noel Longhurst, Adina Dumitru, and Tim O’ Riordan  Chapter 3 – The Idea(l) of a ‘Sustainable Sharing Economy’: Four Social Science Perspectives on Transformative Change, Julia Backhaus, Harro van Lente, and René Kemp  Chapter 4 – Societal Transformation, Social Innovations and Sustainable Consumption in an Era of Metamorphosis, Michael Jonas  Chapter 5 – Local Authorities and their Development of New Governance Approaches: Distilling Lessons from a Social Innovation Project, Marcelline Bonneau and François Jégou  Chapter 6 – Hitting a Policy wall: the Transformative Potential and Limitations of Community Pick-Up Point Schemes, Keighley MacFarland and Julia Wittmayer  Chapter 7 – Community Energy as a site for Social Innovation , Iain Soutar  Chapter 8 – Community Agriculture and the Narrative Construction of Change, Emese Gulyás and Bálint Balázs  Chapter 9 – Towards Sustainable Practices: a Practice-theoretical Case Study of a Cohousing Project, Michaela Leitner and Beate Littig  Chapter 10 – The Search for Social Innovations that are within Ecological Limits as well as more Just, Edina Vadovics and Simon Milton  Chapter 11 – North-American Perspectives of Societal Transformation, Philip J. Vergragt  Chapter 12 – Commentary from a Japanese Perspective: Tapping into Traditions for Transitions and Societal Transformations, Satoru Mizuguchi  Chapter 13 - Conclusions: How Social Innovations Become Transformative and Help Increase Sustainability, Edina Vadovics and Sylvia Lorek


    Julia Backhaus is a doctoral researcher at the International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) at Maastricht University, exploring theories of change and the role of assumptions in change processes towards more just and sustainable societies. Much of her work draws on her involvement in European research projects on resource efficiency (POLFREE), transformative social innovation (TRANSIT) and sustainable energy use (ENERGISE). Next to her research, Julia teaches at Bachelor and Master level and regularly supervises undergraduate and graduate research projects. In addition, she is a member of the steering committee of the European branch of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI). Julia holds an interdisciplinary BSc (cum laude) and an MPhil in Science and Technology Studies, both from Maastricht University.

    Audley Genus, PhD, is Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Kingston University. He researches sustainability-related innovation, community entrepreneurship and technology policy. Audley is the editor of ‘Sustainable Consumption: Design, Innovation and Practice’, published by Springer, three single-authored books and numerous peer-reviewed articles in leading journals. He is currently working with SCORAI Europe colleagues and others on a €3.2 million pan-European project (known as ‘ENERGISE’), which has a focus on sustainable consumption and innovations in energy use practices, and is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative. Audley is a member of the editorial board of Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, the steering committee of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI Europe) and a member of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, the British Academy of Management, the Sustainable Development Research Network and the Sustainability Transitions Research Network.

    Sylvia Lorek holds a PhD in consumer economics and is trained to work on the interlinkages of the individual micro-economic and the societal macroeconomic perspective in which the scientific and societal discourses about sustainable consumption take place. As head of SERI Germany e.V., she is working on studies and as consultant for national and international organisations. She has a lecturer position at the University of Applied Science in Münster and held classes e.g. at the University of Helsinki, the Baltic University Program (BUP) and the Asia-Europe Foundation University. Sylvia is an organising member of SCORAI Europe, the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (GRF-SCP), the Society for the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP).

    Edina Vadovics (M.Sc., M.Ed., M.Phil.) is research director of GreenDependent Institute and president of GreenDependent Association in Hungary, both with the mission to promote and research sustainable lifestyles, focusing on facilitating dialogue between research and practice. Edina manages GreenDependent’s work in international research projects, and campaigns. While her research focuses on sustainable communities and lifestyles, she is also involved in action projects. Earlier, she worked in corporate sustainability management, and taught related courses at various universities. She also worked as an external expert to the European Environment Agency and UNEP, and contributed to some of their key publications. She is member of the advisory board of the TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory research project, and an expert in the URBACT Capitalization project on social innovation in cities. Edina is a member of the SCORAI Europe steering committee, and has contributed to several SCORAI workshops and co-organized SCORAI special sessions at conferences.

    Julia M. Wittmayer, PhD, works as senior researcher at DRIFT, the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She holds an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology (cum laude) and her research focuses on social innovation and social sustainability in urban areas and on local scale. Her research interest is in roles, social relations and interactions of actors involved in transition (management) processes and initiatives, with a specific interest for the role of research and transdisciplinary engagements. She also lectures at DRIFT’s Transition Academy, leading the theme ‘Transformative Research’.

    "This is a timely and important collection of papers on social innovation and sustainable consumption from leading researchers from across Europe. The thirteen chapters explore in different ways the relationships between and potential contributions of social innovations to sustainable consumption across a range of areas. But what comes across most strongly for me is that at a time when it is very easy to feel despondent about ‘our leaders’ really getting to grips with the issues, and in many cases just reworking old formulae, this book shows us that social innovations open up possibilities and opportunities, are happening now and are involving citizens themselves taking control and acting. Moreover, their potential impact extends beyond the environmental to a radical rethinking of social and economic relations."  David Uzzell, Professor of Environmental Psychology, University of Surrey, UK

    "This edited collection works well by connecting the all-important details of social innovation with the powerful structures in everyday consumption. Through attentive and engaged research, the contributors articulate the many ways that social innovators are overcoming seemingly unfavourable conditions and help mobilise more sustainable futures today." Adrian Smith, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, and co-author of Grassroots Innovation Movements, UK