Publication Details

Reference Category Journals
DOI / URL link
Creative Commons Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Discursive dynamics and lock-ins in socio-technical systems: an overview and a way forward
Author Simoens, M.C.; Fuenfschilling, L.; Leipold, S.
Journal Sustainability Science
Year 2022
Department UPOL
Volume 17
Issue 5
Page From 1841
Page To 1853
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Discourse; Agency; Narrative; Lock-in; Sustainability transitions; Transformation
Abstract Understanding the dynamics of stability and change is key to accelerate sustainability transitions. This paper aims to advance and inspire sustainability transition research on this matter by collecting insights from interpretative environmental discourse literature. We develop a heuristic that identifies and describes core discursive elements and dynamics in a socio-technical system. In doing so, we show how the interplay of meta-, institutionalized, and alternative discourses, dominant, marginal, and radical narratives, as well as weak and strong discursive agency influence the socio-technical configuration. The heuristic suggests three discursive lock-ins reinforcing the stabilization of socio-technical systems: unchallenged values and assumptions, incumbents’ discursive agency, and narrative co-optation. Furthermore, it explores three pathways of discursive change: disruptive, dynamic and cross-sectoral. Overall, this paper puts forward a discursive perspective on sustainability transitions. It offers additional analytical approaches and concepts for discursive transition studies, elaborated insights on the dynamics within and between the analytical dimensions of a socio-technical system, as well as a theoretical baseline for analyzing discursive lock-in mechanisms and pathways of discursive change.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Simoens, M.C., Fuenfschilling, L., Leipold, S. (2022):
Discursive dynamics and lock-ins in socio-technical systems: an overview and a way forward
Sustain. Sci. 17 (5), 1841 - 1853