par Pel, Bonno ;Avelino, Flor;Jhagroe, Shivant S.S.
Editeur scientifique Brauch, Hans-Gunter;Oswald Spring, Ursula;Grin, John;Scheffran, Jurgen
Référence Handbook on Sustainability Transition and Sustainable Peace, Springer, page (451-463)
Publication Publié, 2016-08-01
Partie d'ouvrage collectif
Résumé : Since its emergence as a theory of sustainability transformation, transitions theory has started to gain currencywith both policymakers and researchers. As transitions approaches become established in research and policy,a process of institutionalization can be witnessed. Yet notwithstanding this mainstreaming, transitions theorycontinues to be controversial. Questions have been raised about its theorization of agency and transformationdynamics, and especially about the normative assumptions underlying its intervention strategies.Arguably, these recurring questions call for ‘critical approaches’ to transitions theory. This contribution exploresthese, guided by a constructive attitude. The argument starts from the consideration that transitions theory harboursdistinctly ‘critical’ elements, and that polemical juxtapositions between critical and uncritical transitionsapproaches are unnecessary: What are the critical contents of transitions theory? How can the critical contentsof transitions theory be retained and developed further? These questions are answered through a historicalcomparison with the critical-theoretical project as initiated by Marx, Horkheimer and Adorno, amongst others.As with transitions studies, this project was meant to diagnose the social problems of its time, and to articulatecorresponding remedial strategies. It ran into various internal contradictions, however, and these provide usefulinsights for the further development of critical transitions. The main conclusion is that transitions theory is wellequipped to deal with these critical-theoretical paradoxes, but also displays tendencies towards relapsing intothe pitfalls.