Repository – Methods for Pathways to Sustainability Return to Methods

Search examples, events, commentary and publications on methods that help explore pathways to sustainability. This archive draws from 15 years of the ESRC STEPS Centre’s research with collaborators around the world.

For an overview of our work on this theme, visit the Methods front page.

Filter

Filter by category

Filter by tag

Showing 1 - 20 of 22 results

Transformative Pathways to Sustainability: Learning Across Disciplines, Cultures and Contexts

Edited by Adrian Ely Routledge, Pathways to Sustainability Series (2021) Open Access Read/Download this book Transformations to sustainability are increasingly the focus of research and policy discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the different roles played by transdisciplinary research in contributing to social transformations across diverse settings have been neglected in the literature. Transformative…

T-Labs: A Practical Guide

T-Labs: A Practical Guide Using Transformation Labs (T-Labs) for innovation in social-ecological systems Pathways Network, September 2018 Between 2016 and 2018, the Pathways Network aimed to investigate new approaches for transformations to sustainability across different disciplines, cultures and contexts. The network carried out comparative research in six countries to explore how to work with local…

Structured Collaboration Across a Transformative Knowledge Network — Learning Across Disciplines, Cultures and Contexts?

Realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require transformative changes at micro, meso and macro levels and across diverse geographies. Collaborative, transdisciplinary research has a role to play in documenting, understanding and contributing to such transformations. Previous work has investigated the role of this research in Europe and North America, however the dynamics of transdisciplinary…

Transformative spaces in the making: key lessons from nine cases in the Global South

Laura Pereira, Niki Frantzeskaki, Aniek Hebinck, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Scott Drimie, Michelle Dyer, Hallie Eakin, Diego Galafassi, Timos Karpouzoglou, Fiona Marshall, Michele-Lee Moore, Per Olsson, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Patrick van Zwanenberg and Joost M. Vervoort Sustainability Science, November 2019 (Open Access) Read this paper online Creating a just and sustainable planet will require not only small…

How deep is incumbency? A ‘configuring fields’ approach to redistributing and reorienting power in socio-material change

This paper examines a variety of theories bearing on ‘socio-material incumbency’ and explores methodological implications. The aim is to develop a systematic general approach, which builds on strengths and mitigates weaknesses in prevailing analytical frameworks. A particular priority lies in avoidance of self-acknowledged tendencies in existing theory to ‘reify’ central notions like ‘the regime’. Such…

From being rooted to uprooted, and from trapped to transformed: Voices of Xochimilco

This film (‘Del desarraigo al arraigo, y de las trampas a la transformación: Voces de Xochimilco’) is a visual introduction to the neighbourhood and wetland of Xochimilco in Mexico City, as told by local people who share a connection with it. They each give their perspectives on the transformations that are taking place in the region, including their concerns and hopes for the future.

The Transformation Laboratory of the Social-Ecological System of Xochimilco, Mexico City: Description of the Process and Methodological Guide

The activities described in this guide are designed to support participatory research in the search for transformative pathways to social-ecological system sustainability. The guide offers activities with practical examples to help researchers creatively explore new ways for participants to relate to each other and to their environment. This publication draws on the experiences of implementing…

Beyond Technical Fixes: climate solutions and the great derangement

Nightingale, A.J., Eriksen, S., Taylor, M., Forsyth, T., Pelling, M., Newsham, A., Boyd, E., Brown, K., Harvey, B., Jones, L., Kerr, R.B., Mehta, L., Naess, L.O., Ockwell, D., Scoones, I., Tanner, T. and Whitfield, S. (2019) Climate and Development, 2019 Climate change research is at an impasse. The transformation of economies and everyday practices is…

What is Uncertainty and Why Does it Matter?

STEPS Working Paper 105 April 2019 Uncertainty defines our times. Whether it is in relation to climate change, disease outbreaks, financial volatility, natural disasters or political settlements, every media headline seems to assert that things are uncertain, and increasingly so. Uncertainty, where we do not know the probabilities of either likelihoods or outcomes, is different…

Transformations to Sustainability

STEPS Working Paper 104 September 2018 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight how transformations to sustainable economies and societies are a major global challenge. This Working Paper offers a brief overview of different conceptual approaches to transformation, and outlines a set of practical principles for effective research and action towards sustainability. We review three approaches…

Transdisciplinary research as transformative space making for sustainability: enhancing propoor transformative agency in periurban contexts

In this paper, we discuss how transdisciplinary development research (TDR), if approached in particular ways, can produce new knowledge and also foster deeper systemic changes in the knowledge system itself. We are concerned with systemic change that supports propoor sustainability transformations, and conceptualize the processes that contribute to this type of systemic change as “transformative…

Promoting agency for social-ecological transformation: a transformation-lab in the Xochimilco social-ecological system

Experiments to create spaces for social-ecological transformation are multiplying. These experiments aim at transcending traditional spaces for rational deliberation, planning, and participatory decision-making. We present a methodological approach for triggering the emergence of “transformation laboratories” (T-labs), which are participatory spaces where new agency is activated in relation to a stagnant sustainability challenge to generate intentional…

STEPS pathways poster

A printable A4 poster with a simple summary of some key ideas based on the STEPS Centre’s pathways approach to sustainability. Download (PDF)

Power in Practice: Insights from Technography and Actor-Network Theory for Agricultural Sustainability

STEPS Working Paper 100 October 2017 In this paper, we use conceptual insights from two distinct traditions within the social studies of science and technology, namely actor-network theory (ANT) and technography, to explore the relationship between power and the reconfiguration of agricultural practices toward sustainability. Noting the generative (productive) and repressive aspects of power, we…

The political economy of One Health research and policy

STEPS Working Paper 81 ‘One Health’ has emerged over the last decade as a key concept guiding international research and policy in the field of emerging infectious diseases such as zoonoses. This paper explores the emergence of One Health and examines the political, economic and knowledge processes shaping who is doing what, where and why….

STEPS Centre Research: Our Approach to Impact

STEPS Centre Working Paper 60 Download this paper (PDF) The ‘impact’ of research has seen a dramatic rise up the UK’s policy agenda in recent years. But what does ‘impact’ really mean? How do researchers and others respond to the new ‘impact agenda’ and how might we best plan, monitor and report on impact? This…

Contested Agronomy: Agricultural Research in a Changing World

This book in our Pathways to Sustainability series looks at the how debates in crop and land science have changed in the last 40 years, through a series of case studies from the developing world. The dramatic increases in food prices experienced over the last four years, and their effects of hunger and food insecurity,…

The Pathways Approach of the STEPS Centre

Rapid environmental and social changes – such as climate change, population explosion, urbanisation and globalised economics – are posing urgent practical, moral and political challenges across the globe. Consequently the core development challenges of alleviating poverty and inequity are increasingly complex. How might pathways to sustainability – linking environmental integrity with social justice – be…