Open Access Article

Title: Co-positioning design for sustainability transitions, practice theory and transitions theories: towards dialogue and collaboration

Authors: Elif Erdoğan Öztekin; İdil Gaziulusoy

Addresses: NODUS Sustainable Design Research Group, Department of Design, Aalto University, Otaniementie 16, 02150 Espoo, Finland ' NODUS Sustainable Design Research Group, Department of Design, Aalto University, Otaniementie 16, 02150 Espoo, Finland

Abstract: This paper examines the integration potential of three bodies of knowledge that theorise and strategise about sustainability transitions and societal change: design for sustainability transitions (DfST), transitions theories (TTs) and practice theory (PT). After presenting an overview of their particular conceptions of change, narratives of change and foci of interventions, we comparatively assess: i) the dynamics of societal change that they highlight; ii) the scopes of change that they target and iii) the phases of change with which they actively engage. Our findings suggest that DfST, TTs and PT undertake distinct and yet equally relevant and necessary lenses and practices to understand and steer sustainability transitions. We argue that there is a need for establishing dialogues and collaborations between these three approaches, linking their activities, processes, learnings and propositions in order to initiate the formation of an aligned sustainability transitions research.

Keywords: sustainability transitions; societal change; transdisciplinary integration; phases of change; DfST; design for sustainability transitions; practice theory; PT; transitions theories; transitions management; multi-level perspective; narratives of change; interventions; dynamics of change; design for sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2021.10038130

Journal of Design Research, 2020 Vol.18 No.3/4, pp.196 - 223

Received: 13 Nov 2020
Accepted: 27 Feb 2021

Published online: 05 Jul 2021 *