Managing technological transitions: prospects, places, publics and policy

Hodson, M and Marvin, S 2006, Managing technological transitions: prospects, places, publics and policy , Working Paper, University of Salford, Salford, UK.

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Transition management (TM) approaches have generated considerable interest in academic and policy circles in recent years (Kemp and Loorbach, 2005; Rotmans and Kemp, 2003). In terms of a loose definition, a ‘transition can be defined as a gradual, continuous process of structural change within a society or culture’ (Rotmans et al, 2001, p.2). The development of TM, much of which has occurred within the context of the Netherlands, may be seen as a response to the complexities, uncertainties and problems which confront many western societies, in organising ‘sustainably’ various aspects of energy, agricultural, water, transport and health systems of production and consumption. Problems such as pollution, congestion, the vulnerability of energy or water supplies and so on are seen as systemic and entwined or embedded in a series of social, economic, political, cultural and technological relationships.
The systemic nature of many of these problems highlights the involvement - in the functioning of a particular system and any subsequent transition - of multiple actors or ‘stakeholders’ across different local, national and international scales of activity. With this in mind, such problems become difficult to ‘solve’ and ‘solutions’ are seen to require systemic innovation rather than individual or episodic responses. The point being that ‘these problems are system inherent and… the solution lies in creating different systems or transforming existing ones’ (Kemp and Loorbach, 2005, p.125).
In this paper we critically engage with and build upon transitions approaches to address their ‘applicability’ in the context of the UK. In doing this the paper addresses the prospective potential of transitions approaches, but also their relative neglect of places and publics. Through developing an argument which addresses the strengths and ‘gaps’ of transitions approaches we also analyse the resonances and dissonances between three themes – cities and regions, public participation and national hydrogen strategy – in the transitions literature and the UK policy context.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: UKSHEC (UK Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium) Social Science Working Paper No. 23
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > Q Science (General)
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Publisher: University of Salford
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2009 16:11
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:40

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