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Making democratic sense of socio-technical transitions for sustainability Workshop: Politics & Governance in Sustainable Socio-Technical Transitions Dr.

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Presentation on theme: "Making democratic sense of socio-technical transitions for sustainability Workshop: Politics & Governance in Sustainable Socio-Technical Transitions Dr."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making democratic sense of socio-technical transitions for sustainability Workshop: Politics & Governance in Sustainable Socio-Technical Transitions Dr Carolyn Hendriks School of Business and Government University of Canberra

2 Some democratic questions 1.who should be included/excluded in transition arrangements? 2.how should transition arrangements and their outcomes attain legitimacy and secure public accountability? 3.how should they function vis-à-vis existing institutions of representative democracy? 4.how do actors understand and experience the relationship between transition processes and democracy?

3 Some democratic concepts Democracy requires that those affected by decisions should have an equal opportunity to participate in, and affect decisions Legitimacy recognition (by those affected) that a decision, policy or institution has authority Accountability process whereby decision makers and institutions are held to account for their actions (and in-actions) by those affected

4 For some democratic answers… Transition Theory: not explicit on democratic matters Transition practice: In-depth case study - Dutch Energy Transition Program (ETP) interpretive policy analysis: 27 interviews + secondary materials Explore discourse and narratives: 1.on policy making process 2.on democracy

5 Transition management as a policy discourse partly managerial – but rejects modernist ideals attempts to ‘do things differently’ the ‘transition’ concept is ambiguous & thereby appealing new institutional arrangements and partnerships –especially in energy reform ~ steering energy transitions –Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ) with 6 other ministries

6 From Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs, 2004

7 Institutional map of Dutch energy policy platforms ministerial entities workgroups advisory bodies meta- institutions Energy Council (energieraad) Environment Council (VROM raad) Social and Economic Council ~Sustainability Subgroup (SER raad) Ministry for Economic Affairs MEZ Innovation council (innovatie raad) ParliamentRathenau Institute marketEnergy Research Centre (ECN) Think tanks SenterNovem chairman Six Ministries Biomass 2005 Chain Efficiency 2005 Sustainable electricity 2006 New gas 2003 Sustainable Mobility 2004 In-departmental Directorate Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Energy taskforce Built environment 2006 Project 4 Project 3 Project 2 Project 1 Energy dialogue

8 From Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs, 2004

9 1. From the perspective of those involved democratic storylines – ideas on what constitutes a ‘democratic’, ‘legitimate’ and ‘accountable’ decision, policy or institution ~ espoused theories: the democratic norms that individuals claim to hold 2. From the perspective of democratic network governance Making democratic sense of TMgt in practice ….

10 1. Dominant democratic storyline transitions are about innovation, not democracy epistemic matters privileged over democratic matters draws heavily on TMgt theories e.g. participants should be visionaries, forerunners, open-minded, autonomous pack laggard s Forerunners Regulation reactive Target group approach active Transition management proactive (from EZ 2001)

11 Knowledge A chair of one platform: “for the right solutions we need the right knowledge.” Leadership & coordination A member of the taskforce: “What we need are competent people who know the area of industry... and technically know what’s going on...such that they have sufficient weight as a group be able to push this forward.” Public involvement is not necessary or can wait –issues too complex for the public –citizen tend to focus on short terms –citizens will be involved as citizens Key threads of the dominant storyline (i)

12 Democratic institutions myopic and inhibit innovation Energy Taskforce (2006: 33): “Staying on course to a future that is more than one generation distant cannot be done by a government that changes direction and colour every four years due to the nature of its structure. A politically- independent and authoritative monitoring and ‘boosting’ function is required that supports government in holding on to long term visions and staying on course…” Accountability: managerial – effective long term transitions Legitimacy: outputs Espoused theory: technocracy/elite theory Key threads of the dominant storyline (ii)

13 Storyline 2: Transitions within a representative democracy transitions need democratic consent - but this comes later citizens want others to solve these complex issues 1 st elites advise the government 2 nd decisions made by elected representatives Accountability: through periodic elections Legitimacy: inputs and outputs Espoused theory: representative democracy

14 Storyline 3: Transitions with stakeholders all key players and society included –directly eg. group representatives –indirectly eg. deliberation on behalf of others Accountability: group representatives held accountable by their constituents Legitimacy: inputs – all relevant interests included Espoused theory: interest group pluralism/neo-corporatism

15 Understanding TMgt as a mode of ‘network governance’ Network governance = coordination of interdependent actors from public, private and societal sectors for the purposes of developing and implementing public policy. PROBLEM: performs poorly against the norms of liberal democracy –participants mostly autonomous with no formal links to constituents HOWEVER, some suggest networks could potentially deepen democracy –networks could make democracy more participatory, deliberative, and plural Studies of network governance reveals the tensions between networks and the broader democratic context

16 dynamic democratic landscape systems of representative democracy Steering socio-technical change in a democratic context Programs to steer socio-technological change TMgt as a mode of network governance in a dynamic landscape

17 Facilitating socio-technical transitions in a dynamic democratic context Institutional solutions embed governance structures in institutions of rep democracy anchor governance structures to politicians (Sørenson and Torfing 2005) Inclusive solutions ensure ‘democracy of the affected’ (Eckersely, 2000; Young, 2000) affirmative action of underrepresented or marginalised groups monitor equality of outcomes Publicity solutions connect the public to issues (Latour, 2005; Warren, 2002) Participatory solutions faciltate empowered forms of public participation

18 Key Messages Any attempt to steer socio-technical change requires attending to: 1.democratic consequences of transition arrangements and policies e.g. who will make decisions on behalf of whom, and how will they secure legitimacy and public accountability? 2.the impacts of dynamic democratic systems on transitions e.g. how can transition arenas co-exist productively alongside other sites of democracy, most notably institutions of representative democracy?

19 Broader implications TMgt represents a powerful set of ideas for sustainability policy But it does pose some particular challenges for democracy: Knowledge: balancing epistemic and democratic concerns Sharing power with ‘whom’: engaging elites to legitimise and stimulate change possibility at the expense of broader public empowerment Representation: creative and autonomous participants versus group representatives ‘democracy of the affected’: but who’s affected and by how much? Discursive: technocratic approaches legitimised in a climate of ‘urgency’

20 1 From Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs, 2004

21 Making democratic sense of socio-technical transitions for sustainability Workshop: Politics & Governance in Sustainable Socio-Technical Transitions Dr Carolyn Hendriks School of Business and Government University of Canberra


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