Contributors: Graaf, Lisa (FU Berlin)
Scientific paper contribution 1: Societal transformations: what is being transformed, what are the drivers of transformation and how can the process be governed? – A review of the literature on transformation
This paper is co-authored by Holger Bär and Klaus Jacob.
Abstract: Many political actors confirm the necessity of a fundamental transformation of society, politics and economy in order to meet the challenges of sustainable development. However, the range, pace and the means of governments and societal actors to initiate and assist such processes of change are disputed. Against this background, we identify different definitions of and assumptions about transformations. Transformations are often understood as a fundamental change, which comprises different subsystems of society. Changes in one of the systems trigger changes in another system and vice versa. Besides that, there are different assumptions in the literature on transformations regarding causalities and possibilities for governing such processes of change. In order to classify the different contributions of the scientific debate on transformation, we clustered them along three guiding questions: what is being transformed? What are the driving forces? Is it possible to govern the process of transformation (and if yes, how can it be governed)?
Scientific paper contribution 2: Governance of sustainability transformation: Transformative Environmental Policy
This paper is co-authored by Klaus Jacob
Abstract: Many political actors confirm the necessity of a fundamental transformation of society, politics and economy in order to meet the challenges of sustainable development. However, the range, pace and the means of governments and societal actors to initiate and assist such processes of change are disputed. There is no such thing as an overarching vision, on which all actors agree upon and which states the objectives and direction of transformation. What these visions agree on, is that the sustainability transformation will be governed in a way by the planetary boundaries and therefore cannot be as open-ended as previous societal transformations. Still, there is the (limited) possibility of governing transformation towards sustainability – due to limited capacities and resources of governments to influence such changes and the complexities and many interlinkages between societal developments. Therefore, a new concept of governance is needed how policy actors can provide a sustainable direction to societal transformation: transformative environmental policy.
In a first step, we cluster the different visions on transformed societies, resulting in four main ‘types of visions’. In a second step, we discuss – based on a literature review – the theory of transformative change and how these processes of change take place. In a series of stakeholder workshops on various transformative topics, we have brought a wide range of actors together to discuss competing sustainability visions for each area and to identify the needs for governance in order to be able to meet those challenges. Based on this, we have developed the concept of transformative environmental policy as a mode of environmental policy-making compatible to existing ones, but one that makes use of ongoing changes and which uses experiments and societal trends to influence change in the direction of greater sustainability.