Enacting Transitions—The Combined Effect of Multiple Niches in Whole System Reconfiguration

Sibylle Bui
2021 Sustainability  
The environmental and social issues caused by agricultural and food distribution practices call for a profound reconfiguration of the agri-food system. This paper is aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the way such a reconfiguration may be fostered. Building on recent developments of transition studies that analyze whole system reconfigurations, it proposes a pragmatist, whole system approach to examine the socio-political dimension of sustainability transitions. Based on the
more » ... ographic and longitudinal study of a unique case of (territorial) agroecological transition in France, it identifies the mechanisms involved in a transition and the way actors enacted them. It characterizes required prior, incremental system changes, and stresses the role of multiple niches that influence simultaneously the various components of the agri-food system. From an action-oriented perspective, these results suggest that transitions may be fostered by: (1) supporting the diffusion of an alternative technological paradigm within the regime that niches may be congruent with; (2) stimulating the development of a diversity of radical innovations related to the various dimensions of the agri-food system and fostering their interactions with the regime; and (3) moving from a technology-driven approach of innovation towards an emphasis on organizational innovations that foster the rebalancing of power relations.
doi:10.3390/su13116135 fatcat:6opnveybijb4zlyzybdanbl5qe