Going Green, Adopting the Rhetoric or Going Beyond? a Sociological Look at Environmental Transitions Theory

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Daniel GABALDON-ESTEVAN, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Universitat de València, Spain, Universitat de Valencia, Spain
The accumulated scientific evidence on the unsustainable increase of the socio-environmental impacts of the economic activity during the anthropocene epoch is slowly filtering to the socio-economic discourses on development and growth with the so call “green” rhetoric. Examples of that are found in international policy programs, such as the European Union 2001 Sustainable Development Strategy, in industry discourses, see for instance the Ceramic Industry Roadmap of 2012, and even citizen believes (European Commission, 2014). However, there are confronted views on what should be done. For some, such as the ecological modernization advocates, we are on the right path and what is needed is to improve technologies. For others, however, the path should be changed as the limits to growth concern more than just production process and energy efficiencies (degrowth advocates). For both, however, innovation seems to be the clue for avoiding a traumatic transition. A body of research mostly active in the study of environmental transitions is the innovation systems perspective (Zeng et al., 2010; Markard et al., 2012; Weber and Rohracher, 2012) where the concept of environmental innovations is becoming widespread within the innovation systems analysis. The fact that in the development of the innovation systems perspective there has been a relevant influence of sociological concepts (Sharif, 2004; Geels, 2004) makes this concept to be very suitable to fit into the tool-kit of environmental sociology. In this paper the influence of ‘environmental transitions’ concept on environmental sociology is explored within the broader analysis of the innovations systems approach from a sociological perspective.


This work was supported by the project ESTIBMEIC- GV/2014/049 (Generalitat Valenciana)