Subject: CALL FOR PAPERS - Socio-technical Transitions and Practices: Insights into Environmental Sustainability

Sorry for cross-postingSocio-technical Transitions and Practices: Insights
into Environmental Sustainability

The multi-level analytical framework of socio-technical transitions
promoted since the beginning of the 2000s (Grin, Rotmans and Schot 2011;
Smith, Voß and Grin 2010; Geels 2002; 2011) has been recently brought into
question by taking into consideration materiality, the dispersed and uneven
distribution of agency and power, and the importance of (historical,
spatial and political) context (Avelino et al. 2016). As pointed out by
various criticisms, the multi-level perspective on socio-technical
transitions often assumes a vertical trajectory, is too focused on
institutions, and – methodologically – is based on secondary analyses of
official data. By linking these criticisms with sustainability issues,
moreover, inconsistencies and ambivalences emerge, as several contributions
have shown especially in the renewable energy sector (e.g. Schreuer 2016;
Scotti and Minervini 2016). This reminds us of the ambiguous meaning of the
notion of ‘sustainability’ (Redclift 2005; Moneva, Archel and Correa
Hornborg 2015; Rice 2007; Gottschlich and Bellina 2016). Furthermore, from
a Science and Technology Studies (STS) perspective, Shove and Walker (2007;
2010) have suggested the need to reconsider the multi-level approach to
socio-technical transitions by taking into account the practice level. This
means to analyse, on the one hand, the mutual relationship between
technologies and innovation paths; on the other, how these relate with

In recent years, transition studies have actually turned to the practice
theory approach, especially drawing on STS theoretical perspectives
(Chilvers and Longhurst 2016), as well as on a renewed interest for the
material components of innovation processes (Hoffman and Loeber 2015). In
this framework, socio-technical transitions are regarded as the outcome of
co-production processes simultaneously involving human and non-human

Intensifying contaminations between the field of socio-technical
transitions and the field of practices ask for a systematic reflection.
This special issue of *Tecnoscienza. The Italian Journal of Science &
Technology Studies *aims therefore to offer a venue for contributions
addressing environmental sustainability by linking socio-technical
transitions and practices. An STS perspective may in particular shed light
on the role of non-human agency in co-shaping the everyday practices
involved in the transition towards sustainability. Innovation experiences,
for instance, may be both fostered and hindered by material elements or
broad infrastructures in which local practices are embedded, and we need a
better understanding of the factors leading to the one or the other outcome.

This special issue invites paper submissions including, but not limited to,
the following themes: mobility; waste management; food production,
consumption and supply; energy consumption and production.

Key research questions to be addressed include the following:

- Are there competing (human/non-human) networks around a same
sustainable transition goal? What shape do they take? Do they interact in
some way?
- What are the actants that play a role in a local network?
- How can the issue of “path dependency” be explored through the lens
- What are the practices that characterize a socio-technical transition
process in a specific context (e.g. everyday mobility strategies; personal
care; dietary choice and food consumption; heating)?

A further aim of the special issue is to include a variety of geographical
and societal contexts. The link between growth and sustainability in
socio-technical transitions implies several political consequences, in
terms of Global North-South divide as well as at local level. For instance,
governments – especially in the European Union – are engaged in promoting
investments in the energy sector to pursue climate emissions reduction, yet
the actual implementation of these efforts does not distribute benefits
equitably among the territories involved in the process. Similarly, the
dominant account of sustainability has a specific cultural connotation,
since it originates in the Global North (Gottschlich and Bellina 2016).
Therefore, cases from the Global South may enrich the reflection we wish to

*Deadline for abstract submissions: December 15th, 2017*

Abstracts (in English) with a maximum length of 500 words should be sent as
email attachments to **
<> and carbon copied to the guest editors.
Notifications of acceptance will be communicated by *January 2017.* Full
papers (in English with a maximum length of 8,000 words including notes and
references) will be due by* April 30th,* *2018* and will be subject to a
double-blind peer review process. The special issue is expected to be
published in 2019.

For information and questions, please do not hesitate to contact the guest

Paolo Giardullo,

Sonia Brondi,

Luigi Pellizzoni,
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