What is protective space? Reconsidering niches in transitions to sustainability
AbstractThe transitions literature emphasises the role of niches, defined as a protective space for path-breaking innovations. Surprisingly, the concept of protection has not been systematically interrogated. Our analysis identifies protection as having three functions in wider transition processes: shielding, nurturing and empowerment. Empowerment, understood as processes and mechanisms that contribute to changes in mainstream selection environments in ways favourable to the path-breaking innovation, is considered the least developed in current niche development literature. We argue that these properties need to be understood from an agency perspective, with attention for the politics involved in their realisation. The paper ends with an outlook upon two promising research avenues: 1) the reconstruction of niche development pathways in light of the present framework; 2) analyses of the diverse (political) narratives seeking to empower niches across time and space.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) in its series Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series with number 11-05.
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision: Aug 2011
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transitions; sustainability; niches;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-12-13 (All new papers)
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