Ideas, institutions, and interests: explaining policy divergence in fostering 'system innovations' towards sustainability

Kern, Florian (2011) Ideas, institutions, and interests: explaining policy divergence in fostering 'system innovations' towards sustainability. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 29 (6). pp. 1117-1134. ISSN 0263-774X

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Abstract

Over the last few years a fast growing literature developed around the notion of socio-technical transitions and the possibilities for governing 'system innovations' towards sustainability. Government policies are assumed to play an important role in such processes. However, an important critique has been not to see these transition processes as politically neutral, but to pay more attention to the politics of these processes. This paper makes a contribution towards this debate by analysing the underlying political processes and their institutional contexts which led to two quite different approaches aimed at promoting 'system innovations' in the UK and the Netherlands. The main question this paper answers is why the two governments engage with the same challenge in such different ways? Building on a discursive-institutionalist perspective based on the work of Hajer and Schmidt, the paper highlights the interplay of discourses, institutional contexts and interests in shaping policy initiatives to promote 'system innovations'. The paper concludes by suggesting a typology of possible relationships between these variables and expected policy outputs which helps to explain the two case studies and is believed to be applicable more widely.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Florian Kern
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:18
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2012 10:55
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19977
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