An agenda for sustainability transitions research: state of the art and future directions

Jonathan Köhler (Corresponding author), Frank W. Geels, Florian Kern, Jochen Markard, Anna Wieczorek, Floortje Alkemade, Flor Avelino, Anna Bergek, Frank Boons, Lea Fünfschilling, David Hess, Georg Holtz, Sampsa Hyysalo, Kirsten Jenkins, Paula Kivimaa, Mari Martiskainen, Andrew McMeekin, Marie Susan Mühlemeier, Bjorn Nykvist, Elsie OnsongoBonno Pel, Rob Raven, Harald Rohracher, Björn Sandén, Johan Schot, Benjamin Sovacool, Bruno Turnheim, Dan Welch, Peter Wells

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Research on sustainability transitions has expanded rapidly in the last ten years, diversified in terms of topics and geographical applications, and deepened with respect to theories and methods. This article provides an extensive review and an updated research agenda for the field, classified into nine main themes: understanding transitions; power, agency and politics; governing transitions; civil society, culture and social movements; businesses and industries; transitions in practice and everyday life; geography of transitions; ethical aspects; and methodologies. The review shows that the scope of sustainability transitions research has broadened and connections to established disciplines have grown stronger. At the same time, we see that the grand challenges related to sustainability remain unsolved, calling for continued efforts and an acceleration of ongoing transitions. Transition studies can play a key role in this regard by creating new perspectives, approaches and understanding and helping to move society in the direction of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Research agenda
  • Socio-technical systems
  • Sustainability
  • Transformation
  • Transitions


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