What is protective space? Reconsidering niches in transitions to sustainability
The 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 effective protection as having three properties in wider transition processes: shielding, nurturing and empowerment. Empowerment is considered the least developed in current niche literature. It can be understood as either processes that make niche innovations competitive within unchanged selection environments (fit-and-conform) or as processes that contribute to changes in mainstream selection environments in ways favourable to a path-breaking niche innovation (stretch-and-transform). Adopting a more constructivist perspective, we subsequently argue that analysis of these properties needs to be complemented with particular attention for the politics involved in their construction. Attention to empowerment confirms the view that niche actors need to link to wider processes of social change, and suggests how this arises. The paper ends with an outlook upon two promising research avenues: (1) the reconstruction of niche development in light of the present framework; (2) analyses of the diverse (political) narratives seeking to empower niches across time and space.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Heather Lovell, 2007. "The governance of innovation in socio-technical systems: The difficulties of strategic niche management in practice," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 35-44, February.
- Smith, Adrian & Stirling, Andy & Berkhout, Frans, 2005. "The governance of sustainable socio-technical transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1491-1510, December.
- Carlsson, B & Stankiewicz, R, 1991. "On the Nature, Function and Composition of Technological Systems," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 93-118, April.
- Frank Geels & J Jasper Deuten, 2006. "Local and global dynamics in technological development: a socio-cognitive perspective on knowledge flows and lessons from reinforced concrete," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 265-275, May.
- Raghu Garud & Arun Kumaraswamy & Peter Karnøe, 2010. "Path Dependence or Path Creation?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 760-774, 06.
- Jacobsson, Staffan & Lauber, Volkmar, 2006. "The politics and policy of energy system transformation--explaining the German diffusion of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 256-276, February.
- Jan Fagerberg, 2003. "Innovation: A Guide to the Literature," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20031012, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
- Glynn, Steven, 2002. "Constructing a selection environment: competing expectations for CFC alternatives," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 935-946, August.
- Markard, Jochen & Truffer, Bernhard, 2008. "Technological innovation systems and the multi-level perspective: Towards an integrated framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 596-615, May.
- Oliver, M. & Jackson, T., 1999. "The market for solar photovoltaics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 371-385, July.
- Jan-Peter Voß & Adrian Smith & John Grin, 2009. "Designing long-term policy: rethinking transition management," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 42(4), pages 275-302, November.
- Elizabeth Shove & Gordon Walker, 2007. "CAUTION! Transitions ahead: politics, practice, and sustainable transition management," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(4), pages 763-770, April.
- Bergek, Anna & Jacobsson, Staffan & Carlsson, Bo & Lindmark, Sven & Rickne, Annika, 2008. "Analyzing the functional dynamics of technological innovation systems: A scheme of analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 407-429, April.
- Geels, Frank W., 2010. "Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 495-510, May.
- Raven, Rob P.J.M., 2006. "Towards alternative trajectories? Reconfigurations in the Dutch electricity regime," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 581-595, May.
- Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993.
"In search of useful theory of innovation,"
Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
- Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1977. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 36-76, January.
- Steenblik, Ronald P, 1995. "A note on the concept of `subsidy'," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 483-484, June.
- Jeroen Bergh, 2011. "Energy Conservation More Effective With Rebound Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 43-58, January.
- Jacobsson, Staffan, 2008. "The emergence and troubled growth of a 'biopower' innovation system in Sweden," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1491-1508, April.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
- Sorrell, Steve, 2009. "Jevons' Paradox revisited: The evidence for backfire from improved energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1456-1469, April.
- Nill, Jan & Kemp, Ren, 2009. "Evolutionary approaches for sustainable innovation policies: From niche to paradigm?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 668-680, May.
- Hommels, Anique & Peters, Peter & Bijker, Wiebe E., 2007. "Techno therapy or nurtured niches? Technology studies and the evaluation of radical innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1088-1099, September.
- Staffan Jacobsson & Anna Bergek, 2004. "Transforming the energy sector: the evolution of technological systems in renewable energy technology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 815-849, October.
- Smith, Adrian & Voß, Jan-Peter & Grin, John, 2010. "Innovation studies and sustainability transitions: The allure of the multi-level perspective and its challenges," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 435-448, May.
- Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
- Nick von Tunzelmann & Franco Malerba & Paul Nightingale & Stan Metcalfe, 2008. "Technological paradigms: past, present and future," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 467-484, June.
- Nelson, Richard R., 2008. "What enables rapid economic progress: What are the needed institutions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-11, February.
- Gallagher, Kelly Sims, 2006. "Limits to leapfrogging in energy technologies? Evidence from the Chinese automobile industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 383-394, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:6:p:1025-1036. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.