Social science research on the destabilisation and phase-out of socio-technical systems
This page lists a number of projects focussing on related topics
Generic focus on destabilisation, decline, phase-out
The ENDINGS Project is an ERC-funded project on “Towards a theory of endings in innovation studies” led by Dr Lea Fünfschilling at CIRCLE (Lund University).
UNMAKING aims to understand to what extent, under what conditions and through what processes radical grassroots innovations unmake modern, capitalist institutions and practice.
Radical civil society initiatives may hold the potential to transform society toward sustainability. This project will use a novel interdisciplinary theory and an innovative combination of methods to explain whether, when and how radical civil society initiatives unmake environmentally disruptive institutions and practices that are deeply ingrained in capitalist societies.
Governance focus on destabilisation, decline, phase-out
The DiscGo (Governance of Discontinuation of Sociotechnical Systems) project aims at a better understanding of the governance of the abandonment of socio-technical systems. It asks what discontinuation means as a problem of action for policy-makers. So far, the governance of socio-technical systems has preferentially been associated with advancement and innovation. Discontinuation of socio-technical systems is, at most, discussed as regime change, innovation setback or failure—as if advancement and innovation was the only direction in which socio-technical development and governance would go. The DiscGo research consortium consists of research groups at the University of Sussex, Brighton (United Kingdom), the TU Dortmund University (Germany), the Unité Science en Société (SenS) at the Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société, IFRIS, Paris (France) and the University of Twente, Enschede (The Netherlands). The UT based group is coordinating the consortium.
The GOSETE (Governance of transitions towards a sustainable economy : challenges of exnovation) project is a pioneer research on exnovation adopting a metropolitan governance perspective [2020-2023]. GOSETE questions the exnovation concept at the level of the metropolitan governance of the transitions towards a sustainable economy. Our starting point was that little attention is paid in society to that phenomenon: exnovation does not generate immediate commercial opportunities, appealing achievements for political leaders, or mobilizing projects for citizens. Yet, transitions dynamics imply not only the emergence and stabilisation of alternatives, but also the destabilisation, the decline and the phasing-out of industries, technologies, business models and practices that raise systemic sustainability issues. How can the Brussels Capital Region engage in transition processes that take into account exnovation challenges, in addition to the direct support to innovations?
Transformations in systems of energy, agriculture, and urban digital infrastructure are globally recognised as crucial to sustainable development. The research project Governance of Sociotechnical Transformations (GoST) focuses on historical and prospective transformations in three key areas:
- Energy transformation and the ‘nuclear age’
- Transformation of agriculture and the ‘green revolution’
- Transformation of the urban digital infrastructure and ‘smart cities.’
The project examines past and prospective transformation efforts across the three areas of energy, agriculture, and urban digital environments, in five countries (Germany, India, Kenya, UK and US). A key concept for the project, and one which is being used as a theoretical starting point, is that of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ within Science and Technology Studies (STS).
Energy focus on destabilisation, decline, phase-out
The Contractions (Analyzing past and future energy industry contractions: Towards a better understanding of the flip-side of energy transitions) project focuses on analysing the mechanisms and the historic rates of decline of energy industries and comparing these to the decline rates and mechanisms expected in the future energy transitions. Contractions brings together researchers from the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformations at the University of Bergen, Norway the Rokkan Centre, the Energy Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and the Physical Resources Division at Chalmers University, Sweden. It is funded by the Research Council of Norway under the Climate change research program.
The ETRANHET (Energy Transitions in the History of Economic Thought – 19th-20th c.) project seeks to examine how the economic discipline, and economists, have dealt with energy issues all around the world, in particular in market economies, since the early 19th century. The project has three objectives: i) to characterise the context-dependency of past economic views of energy; ii) to uncover forgotten, yet relevant, ideas that could enrich current research; iii) to determine how the economic discipline has been able, or not, to influence decision-making in energy matters. This project has been selected by the European Research Council (ERC) following the 2021 StG call and is coordinated by Antoine Missemer (CNRS, CIRED).
The ENTRANCES (ENergy TRANsitions from Coal and carbon: Effects on Societies) project finds its framework under the topic “Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) aspects of the Clean- Energy Transition” and call: LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020. The project aims to develop a theoretically-based and empirically-grounded understanding of cross-cutting issues related to SSH aspects (socio-economic; socio-technical; socio-ecological; socio-cultural; socio-political and socio-psychological; and gender related) of “Clean Energy Transition” in European coal mining and carbon-intensive regions, so as to formulate a set of recommendations in order to tackle these issues. The project intends to address challenges faced by these regions taking into account multi-dimensional perspectives involving different key players at territorial, regional, national, European, and global levels. project is a three-year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Coal Transitions research hub
Coal Transitions is an international research hub which aims to collect credible and feasible trajectories and policy guidance for deep transitions in the coal sector in major coal producing and consuming countries.
It harbours a number of active research projects, of which:
The Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition – Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change project (CINTRAN) studies the complex patterns and dynamics of structural change in those carbon-intensive regions across Europe. It examines the pace of transformation and the regions’ capacity to cope and adapt proactively through highly integrated, inter- and transdisciplinary research working in close collaboration with regional stakeholders from four highly fossil-fuel dependent regions: Western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia (Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rhenish mining area (Germany). This knowledge will inform more effective, just and inclusive governance of regional transformations.
The main aim of the research project ‘CoalExit’ is to design a socially acceptable framework for an upcoming coal phase-out in Germany, as a basis for future regional transition frameworks. This is based on findings from past transitions, continuous feedback from stakeholders, institutional policy analysis, legal aspects and quantitative modeling of the European electricity sector including employment effects. Subsequently, this inter- and transdisciplinary research analyzes the particular situation in other countries, i.a. China, Colombia, India, and South Africa, its implications on the global coal market, and the interdependence with other fossil fuel markets.
At the interface between contemporary art, research and hacking, disnovation.org collective develops artistic provocations seeking to empower post growth imaginaries and practices while challenging dominant techno-solutionist ideologies. They edited the pirate book, an anthology on media piracy, and a bestiary of the anthropocene. Their research includes artworks, publications & curation.