Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Using recent criticisms and suggestions regarding the multi-level perspective as stepping stones, the article aims to enhance the reflexivity in transition debates regarding social theories. To that end, the article discusses seven social science ontologies (rational choice, evolution theory, structuralism, interpretivism, functionalism, conflict and power struggle, relationism), their assumptions on agency and causal mechanisms, and their views on socio-technical transitions and environmental sustainability. The second goal is to position the multi-level perspective on transitions with regard to these ontologies and to identify directions for theoretical extensions. The MLP is characterized not as a grand or unifying theory, but as a middle range theory that makes crossovers to some ontologies and not to others. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-510
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Policy
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010