How Does Society Change? Theories and Research in the Field of Social Change, Transformation and Transition

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
RC24 Environment and Society (host committee)

Language: English

The current multiple crisis of economy, financial markets and the societal nature relationships and their consequences and risks on a global scale have brought concepts of transition and transformation to the political and the social research agendas. Demands for transformation mainly address changes of the dominant practices of consumption, the overall conduct of life, politics and the economy (energy production and consumption). They start from the assumption that social change is no contingent phenomenon and is steerable in principle.
Papers are invited which critically investigate whether and how concepts of transformation or transition can be used as central sociological approaches to analyze social change. We are particularly interested in papers that address the following questions:

  • How are the concepts of transition and transformation shaped in current policies and debates? Which ideas of change are they based on? 
  • Are the concepts of transition and of transformation incommensurable with each other or can they be combined? 
  • What are the normative assumptions linked to these concepts and how should we reflect upon and deal with this normativity? 
  • Which practices and processes are dominant in current implementation processes of transition or transformation strategies and policies? 
  • Which individual and collective actors are primarily involved in current or suggested policies of transition or transformation and which are excluded? 
  • What can we learn from empirical cases dealing with transition or transformation processes in various cities and places as well as regions of the world?
Session Organizers:
Michael JONAS, Institute for Advanced Studies, Austria and Beate LITTIG, Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna, Austria