Understanding the embeddedness of individuals within the larger system to support the energy transition

K. Biely, E.J.L. Chappin, G. de Vries, Siddharth Sareen, Thomas Bauwens

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Technological innovations are a key part of the energy transition. However, the social sphere as a force to facilitate the energy transition must not be neglected. While the socio-technical transition theory provides a framework to connect the technological with the social sphere, the role of the individuals within the transition process remains limited (Upham et al. 2020). Individuals are reduced to the role of consumers and technology users (Avelino and Wittmayer 2016; Nijhof et al. 2022), and the social sphere is subject to change rather than an instigator of it (Kivimaa et al. 2021).

Potentially alternative concepts need to be developed and employed to understand the role of the individual within the energy transition. With a focus on the energy transition, this special feature is dedicated to compiling scientific contributions that provide insights into how the individual is embedded within the larger system and how individuals are facilitating the energy transition. Thus, the role of the individual is not limited to the consumer or the user of technology. Rather special feature contributions identify how individuals are agents of change within the energy transition. Furthermore, the seed of change is not limited to technological or market innovations but includes, for example, social innovations contributing to the energy transition. Scientific articles will also provide insights into how individuals are embedded within the larger system. To shed fresh light on interconnections and the role of individuals in the energy transition, alternative approaches to socio-technical or socio-economic transition theory are welcomed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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