A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
Reconfigurations in sustainability transitions : a systematic and critical review (2021)

Laakso, S., Aro, R., Heiskanen, E., & Kaljonen, M. (2021). Reconfigurations in sustainability transitions : a systematic and critical review. Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, 17(1), 15-31. https://doi.org/10.1080/15487733.2020.1836921

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Laakso, Senja; Aro, Riikka; Heiskanen, Eva; Kaljonen, Minna

Journal or series: Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy

eISSN: 1548-7733

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 17

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 15-31

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15487733.2020.1836921

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73730


Two streams of literature have become especially prominent in understanding social change toward sustainability within the past decades: the research on socio-technical transitions and applications of social practice theory. The aim of this article is to contribute to efforts to create dialogue between these two approaches. We do this by focusing on the concept of reconfiguration, which has become a much-used, but poorly defined notion in the discussion on sustainability transitions. To understand what is defined as reconfiguration in systems and practices, and how the understanding of reconfiguration in regimes could benefit from insights about reconfiguration in practices, we conducted a systematic and critical literature review of 43 journal articles. The findings showed a trend toward a focus on whole-system reconfiguration and interlinked dynamics between practices of production and consumption. However, our study suggests that a less hierarchical understanding of transitions utilizing insights from practice theory might be fruitful. Future research on sustainability transitions could benefit from addressing the tensions between and within niche and regime practices; the dynamics maintaining and challenging social and cultural norms; the efforts in creating new normalities and in recruiting actors in practices; and investigating the different roles the various actors play in these practices.

Keywords: sustainable development; sustainable living; societal change; social change; technological development; systematic reviews

Free keywords: socio-technical transitions; reconfiguration; multi-level perspective; social practice theory; systematic literature review

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 10:35