Participation in transition(s): Reconceiving public engagements in energy transitions as co-produced, emergent and diverse

Chilvers, Jason ORCID: and Longhurst, Noel ORCID: (2016) Participation in transition(s): Reconceiving public engagements in energy transitions as co-produced, emergent and diverse. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 18 (5). pp. 585-607. ISSN 1522-7200

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This paper brings the transitions literature into conversation with constructivist Science and Technology Studies (STS) perspectives on participation for the first time. In doing so we put forward a conception of public and civil society engagement in sustainability transitions as co-produced, relational, and emergent. Through paying close attention to the ways in which the subjects, objects, and procedural formats of public engagement are constructed through the performance of participatory collectives, our approach offers a framework to open up to and symmetrically compare diverse and interconnected forms of participation that make up wider socio-technical systems. We apply this framework in a comparative analysis of four diverse cases of civil society involvement in UK low carbon energy transitions. This highlights similarities and differences in how these distinct participatory collectives are orchestrated, mediated, and subject to exclusions, as well as their effects in producing particular visions of the issue at stake and implicit models of participation and ‘the public’. In conclusion we reflect on the value of this approach for opening up the politics of societal engagement in transitions, building systemic perspectives of interconnected ‘ecologies of participation’, and better accounting for the emergence, inherent uncertainties, and indeterminacies of all forms of participation in transitions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability transitions,energy,public participation,relational,coproduction,sts
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2016 08:11
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 10:41
DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2015.1110483

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