1st Edition

Transitions to Sustainable Development New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change

By John Grin, Jan Rotmans, Johan Schot Copyright 2010
    418 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    418 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Over the past few decades, there has been a growing concern about the social and environmental risks which have come along with the progress achieved through a variety of mutually intertwined modernization processes. In recent years these concerns are transformed into a widely-shared sense of urgency, partly due to events such as the various pandemics threatening livestock, and increasing awareness of the risks and realities of climate change, and the energy and food crises. This sense of urgency includes an awareness that our entire social system is in need of fundamental transformation. But like the earlier transition between the 1750's and 1890's from a pre-modern to a modern industrial society, this second transition is also a contested one. Sustainable development is only one of many options. This book addresses the issue on how to understand the dynamics and governance of the second transition dynamics in order to ensure sustainable development. It will be necessary reading for students and scholars with an interest in sustainable development and long-term transformative change.

    List of Figures.  List of Tables.  List of Textboxes.  Foreword by Carlota Perez.  Preface.  Introduction: From Persistent Problems to System Innovations and Transitions  Part 1: The Dynamics of Transitions: A Socio-Technical Perspective  1.1: Introduction: Exploration of the Research Topic  1.2: A Multi-Level Perspective on Transitions  1.3: Theoretical Backgrounds: Crossovers STS, Evolutionary Economics, and Sociology  1.4: A Typology of Transition Pathways  1.5: Managing Sustainable Innovation Journeys  1.6: Reflections: Process Theory, Causality and Narrative Explanation  Part 2: Towards a Better Understanding of Transitions and Their Governance: A Systemic and Reflexive Approach  2.1: Introduction  2.2: A Complex Integrated Systems Perspective  2.3: Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Transitions  2.4: Research into the Governance of Transitions: A Framework for Transition Management  2.5: Case Study I: Parkstad Limburg: Regional Transition Management  2.6: Case Study II: The Dutch Energy Transition  2.7: Self-Evaluation of the Development and Prospects of Transition Management  Part 3: Understanding Transitions from a Governance Perspective  3.1: Introduction  3.2: Contemporary Processes of Institutional Change  3.3: Modernization Processes in Dutch Agriculture, 1886 to the Present  3.4: The Governance of Transitions: An Agency Perspective  3.5: Modernization as Multilevel Dynamics: Lessons from Dutch Agriculture  3.6: Governance of Transitions: An Analytical Perspective.  Conclusion: How to Understand Transitions? How to Influence Them?: Synthesis and Lessons for Further Research.  Notes.  References.  Index.


    John Grin is professor in policy sciences at the Department of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam. He is scientific director of the Amsterdam School of Social Science Research (ASSR), in which some 160 political scientists, sociologists and anthropologists cooperate in an interdisciplinary research programme.

    Jan Rotmans is one of the founders of Integrated Assessment (IA), and has outstanding experience in IA modeling, scenario-building, uncertainty management and transition management. Since 2004 he has been a full professor in Transitions and Transition Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where he founded the DRIFT-institute: Dutch Research Institute For Transitions. He was vice-president of The Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS), and founder and director of the Dutch Knowledge Network on System Innovations and Transitions (KSI) and co-founder of the Urgenda Foundation. He is currently advisor of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI) and of the Rotterdam Stadshavens.

    Johan Schot is professor in social history of technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He is research director of the Foundation for the History of Technology, and of the Foundation for System Innovation and Transitions towards Sustainable Development. He is a fellow of the N.W. Posthumus Institute for Social and Economic history, and co-founder and chairing (with Ruth Oldenziel) the Tensions of Europe Collaborative Network and Research Program.

    ‘This is a wonderful volume introducing the exciting field of transition studies, which focuses on change processes in large societal subsystems to promote sustainability.’

    - James Meadowcraft, Carleton University

    "This book provides a outstanding contribution to the current debate on transforming major systems of production, infrastructure and consumption towards sustainability. Building on the leading Dutch experiences, it consolidates and deepens the foundations of transition research and is thus a major guidepost for both academia and policy."

    - Matthias Weber, Austrian Research Centers

    "John Grin and his colleagues have constructed an important road map for understanding transformative social change. Planners and policy analysis alike will want to refer to this text as they navigate the great social challenges of our young century." Hugh Bartling, DePaul University