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Assessing transitions through socio-technical network analysis – a methodological framework and a case study from the water sector

Author

Listed:
  • Jonas Heiberg
  • Christian Binz
  • Bernhard Truffer

Abstract

Classic accounts of transitions research have dominantly built on reconstructions of historical transition processes and in-depth case studies to identify and conceptualize socio-technical change. While such approaches have substantively improved our understanding of transitions, they often suffer from a methodological nationalism and lack of generalizability of the insights gained. To address this gap, we propose a novel methodology – socio-technical network analysis (STNA) – to map and measure socio-technical alignment processes across time and space. STNA provides a relational and dynamic perspective on how social and technical elements get reconfigured and aligned into “configurations that work†, allowing for the identification of differentiated transition trajectories at and across spatial context. The method’s performance is illustrated by the empirical case of ongoing transition processes in the global water sector. Building on this illustration, we outline potential future avenues of research, sketching the contours of what we believe could become a very generative conceptual perspective and methodological approach for transitions research in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Heiberg & Christian Binz & Bernhard Truffer, 2020. "Assessing transitions through socio-technical network analysis – a methodological framework and a case study from the water sector," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2035, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:2035
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg2035.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Miörner, Johan & Binz, Christian, 2020. "Toward a multi-scalar perspective of transition trajectories," Papers in Innovation Studies 2020/10, Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research.
    2. Mura, Matteo & Longo, Mariolina & Toschi, Laura & Zanni, Sara & Visani, Franco & Bianconcini, Silvia, 2021. "The role of geographical scales in sustainability transitions: An empirical investigation of the European industrial context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    3. Jonas Heiberg & Christian Binz & Bernhard Truffer, 2020. "The Geography of Technology Legitimation. How multi-scalar legitimation processes matter for path creation in emerging industries," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2034, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2020.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Socio-technical network analysis; Geography of transitions; Socio-technical alignments; Transition trajectories; Discourse; Modular water technologies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities

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