Pluralising progress: From integrative transitions to transformative diversity

Published on 1 June 2011

This paper examines key issues raised by consideration of diversity in the study of environmental innovation and societal transitions. In different ways and degrees, these implicate many contrasting perspectives, including innovation studies, evolutionary economics and transitions research. The paper therefore attends equally to the implications of plurality among disciplines as observing subjects and varieties of sociotechnical configurations as observed objects. Inspired by recent literatures in these fields, the argument focuses in turn on: contending social normativities concerning alternative directions for innovation; divergent disciplinary understandings of societal transitions; and disparate conceptualisations of sociotechnical diversity itself. In each area, the paper identifies some persistent forms of ‘misplaced concreteness’. Recommendations are made as to how the implications of diversity might be addressed in more rigorous and reflective ways. In conclusion, it is shown how rigour and reflexivity themselves depend on plural analytical communities paying greater regard to diversity and striking their own balance between pluralism and concreteness. This highlights a series of specific, but hitherto unresolved, research questions.

Cite this publication

Stirling, Andy. "Pluralising progress: from integrative transitions to transformative diversity." Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 1.1 (2011): 82-88.

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Stirling, Andrew


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