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An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions

This article presents an updated research agenda for the Sustainability Transitions Research Network.


Björn Nykvist / Published on 3 April 2019

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Köhler, J., Geels, F. W., Kern, F., Markard, J., Onsongo, E., Wieczorek, A., Alkemade, F., Avelino, F., Bergek, A., Boons, F., Fünfschilling, L., Hess, D., Holtz, G., Hyysalo, S., Jenkins, K., Kivimaa, P., Martiskainen, M., McMeekin, A., Mühlemeier, M. S., Nykvist, B., Pel, B., Raven, R., Rohracher, H., Sandén, B., Schot, J., Sovacool, B., Turnheim, B., Welch, D. and Wells, P. (2019). An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Research on sustainability transitions has expanded rapidly in the decade since the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN) set out its first research agenda. It has also diversified in terms of topics and geographical applications, and deepened with respect to theories and methods.

This article provides an extensive review and an updated research agenda for the field, classified into nine main themes: understanding transitions; power, agency and politics; governing transitions; civil society, culture and social movements; businesses and industries; transitions in practice and everyday life; geography of transitions; ethical aspects; and methodologies.

The review shows that the scope of sustainability transitions research has broadened and connections to established disciplines have grown stronger. At the same time, it shows that the grand challenges related to sustainability remain unsolved, calling for continued efforts and an acceleration of ongoing transitions.

Transition studies can play a key role in this regard by creating new perspectives, approaches and understanding and helping to move society in the direction of sustainability.

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SEI author

Bjorn Nyqvist
Björn Nykvist

Team Leader: Energy and Industry Transitions; Senior Research Fellow

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