Here is a copy of the presentation given at the first seminar by Susannah Fisher from the University of Cambridge. In it, she reflects on the contested politics of sustainability transitions in the Global South, focusing in particular on debates and practices in India.
Susannah’s paper poses several very important questions, not least of all, what is the difference between ‘development’ and ‘transition’ in the Global South?
Here is the presentation that James Evans (University of Manchester) gave at the Liverpool seminar on 30 June 2011. Here he presents findings from his recentr research exploring ‘living laboratories’ where sustainable technologies and practices are tested in ‘live’ settings.
Spaces of Transition: living labs for sustainability
This presentation poses some fascinating and politically important questions about the nature of urban experiments with sustainable practices and technologies:
1) How do sustainability experiments transform reality and frame new futures? Are we witnessing the development of ‘truth spots’ where the evidence of sustainability experiments are ‘true’?
2) If we acknowledge that there is a spatial unevenness of where such experiments are enacted, then who gets to experiment? Who has the capacity to enact experiments with sustainability transitions
3) Do these ‘living laboratories’ privilege certain types of (technocratic) sustainability knowledges over others?
4) If transition towns (and similar movements) prioritise experiments in social relations, and living laboratories prioritise experiments with technology and infrastructure, is there a need for a more dialectical experimentation that works with both form and process?
Here is a copy of the presentation given at the first seminar by Gavin Bridge from the University of Manchester. In it, he reflects upon the lessons learnt from a recent ESRC Seminar Series he helped run on Energy Transitions.
Geographies of Energy Transition
The three emerging themes that Gavin Bridge highlights in relation to energy transitions are particularly interesting:
1) that ‘transition’ is polysemic and can accommodate many different meanings for different actors.
2) that energy transitions are situated historically – they signify different processes in different historical contexts
3) that energy transitions are geographically differentiated, with different trajectories, goals and time-horizons in different geographical contexts
How can these lessons be applied more widely to wider sustainability transitions? Indeed, if ‘transition’ is a polysemic term, does it lose its usefulness as a concept?
Here is a copy of the presentation Prof John Grin gave at the first seminar, in Liverpool, on 30 June 2011. It gives a broad overview of the heterogeneity of the transitions management approach:
Theorizing Energy Transitions
In this rich presentation, Prof Grin highlights many aspects of ‘what we don’t know’ about processes of transition. He accepted that there is a need for further comparative work examining processes of transition outside of the Netherlands, as well as historical comparisons examining the transition to industrialized society. Similarly, more work is needed about the agency of civil society actors and service users within sustainablity transitions.
A number of interesting questions were posed in the discussion of this presentation:
1) Can (climate justice, environmental and sustainability) social movements be viewed as ‘experimental niches’ within the different strands of transitions management?
2) Is the multi-level approach to transitions too optimistic about the sustainable potential of capitalism?
What do you think?