STS - conferences, IST2012

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Sustainability Transitions: Development of the field and promising lines of research
Jochen Markard, Bernhard Truffer, Rob Raven

Last modified: 2012-03-22


In the past 10-15 years, sustainability transition studies have received increasing attention in the scholarly literature. Today, we witness the emergence of a new field with specific institutional structures and an output of about 100 journal articles per year. Key topics include new energy technologies, the transformation of infrastructure systems, sustainable mobility, transition management and reflexive governance. In this article, we review the conceptual development of the field and present the results of a bibliographic analysis of 540 journal articles with a strong link to “sustainability transitions”. The idea is to identify the contours of the emerging field in terms of key journals, central concepts and focal empirical domains. We will argue that the field has reached a certain level of maturity (e.g. consolidation of key concepts, critical mass of researchers) but needs to develop further in order to tackle the full range of complexities that arise in sustainability transitions. In the second part of the paper, we will discuss established and emerging lines of research with regard to the actual and potential contribution to the field.