Disruption and low-carbon system transformation: Progress and new challenges in socio-technical transitions research and the Multi-Level Perspective

Journal Article

This paper firstly assesses the usefulness of Christensen’s disruptive innovation framework for low-carbon system change, identifying three conceptual limitations with regard to the unit of analysis (products rather than systems), limited multi-dimensionality, and a simplistic (‘point source’) conception of change. Secondly, it shows that the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) offers a more comprehensive framework on all three dimensions. Thirdly, it reviews progress in socio-technical transition research and the MLP on these three dimensions and identifies new challenges, including ‘whole system’ reconfiguration, multi-dimensional struggles, bi-directional niche-regime interactions, and an alignment conception of change. To address these challenges, transition research should further deepen and broaden its engagement with the social sciences.

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