Dynamics in socio-technical systems : typology of change processes and contrasting case studies

F.W. Geels, R. Kemp

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    Abstract

    This paper deals with fundamental change processes in socio-technical systems. It offers a typology of changes based on a multi-level perspective of innovation. Three types of change processes are identified: reproduction, transformation and transition. ‘Reproduction’ refers to incremental change along existing trajectories. ‘Transformation’ refers to a change in the direction of trajectories, related to a change in rules that guide innovative action. ‘Transition’ refers to a discontinuous shift to a new trajectory and system. Using the multi-level perspective, the underlying mechanisms of these change processes are identified. The transformation and transition processes are empirically illustrated by two contrasting case studies: the hygienic transition from cesspools to integrated sewer systems (1870–1930) and the transformation in waste management (1960–2000) in the Netherlands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)441-455
    JournalTechnology in Society
    Volume29
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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