Pluralising agency to understand behaviour change in sustainability transitions

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Suvi Huttunen, Minna Kaljonen, Annika Lonkila, Salla Rantala, Aino Rekola, Riikka Paloniemi. Pluralising agency to understand behaviour change in sustainability transitions. Energy Research & Social Science 76 (2021), 102067, ISSN 2214-6296.

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Title: Pluralising agency to understand behaviour change in sustainability transitions
Author: Huttunen, Suvi; Kaljonen, Minna; Lonkila, Annika; Rantala, Salla; Rekola, Aino; Paloniemi, Riikka
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: 2021
Language: en
Belongs to series: Energy Research and Social Science 76 (2021), 102067
ISSN: 2214-6296
Abstract: In order to maintain a habitable planet, relatively fast and large-scale transitions towards sustainable societies are needed especially regarding the production and consumption of energy. The transitions require people to change the ways they conduct their daily lives as well as agency (capacity to act) in bringing about the needed changes at different levels of society. However, inadequate attention to human behaviour and agency is a recurring critique of the sustainability transition literature. In this article, we bring together insights from institutional, socio-psychological, practice theoretical and relational perspectives to highlight the diversity of understanding agency in sustainability transitions. The different approaches provide a nuanced view on the roles of people and the conduct of everyday lives in sustainability transitions. Building on the multi-level perspective (MLP), we argue that in order to acquire a more holistic understanding on the role of agency in sustainability transitions, attention should be paid to the links and interactions between different socio-technical systems, such as energy, transportation, waste and food as well as their internal dynamics, blurring the boundaries of micro-, meso- and macro-levels. Improved understanding of agency will bring to the fore everyday behaviour as an enabler of sustainability transitions. Furthermore, it will allow a more nuanced perception of the transition dynamics, which can significantly improve the overall understanding of the situated sustainability transitions mechanisms.
Description: Highlights • Different theoretical perspectives widen the understanding of agency. • Institutional, socio-psychological and relational approaches are considered. • Transition agency emerges from the linkages between niches, regimes and systems. • Everyday behaviour changes the contextual level of socio-technical systems.
Subject: multi-level perspective
behaviour change
institutional theory
practice theory
relational theory
Subject (ysa): energiankulutus (energiateknologia)
yhteiskunnallinen muutos
kestävä kehitys

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