1. The concept of "transformations towards sustainability" is increasingly important in global sustainability research and policy discourse.
2. Governance and politics are central to understanding and analyzing transformations, but remain under-developed in academic literature on the topic.
3. Four conceptual approaches to transformations have been developed, including socio-technical transitions, social-ecological systems, sustainability pathways, and transformative adaptation, each with their own insights and challenges.
The article explores the governance and politics of transformations towards sustainability, which have become increasingly important in global sustainability research and policy discourse. The paper critically surveys four prominent conceptual approaches to transformations, including socio-technical transitions, social-ecological systems, sustainability pathways, and transformative adaptation. The authors reflect on these approaches through the lens of the Earth System Governance framework and identify existing insights as well as research challenges and opportunities.
The article provides a comprehensive overview of different perspectives on transition and transformation within the global sustainability literature. However, it is important to note that the authors do not provide an equal analysis of all four approaches they survey. They spend more time discussing socio-technical transitions and social-ecological systems than they do on sustainability pathways or transformative adaptation.
Additionally, while the authors acknowledge that governance is central to understanding transformations towards sustainability, they do not fully explore how power dynamics can influence governance processes. They briefly mention the importance of recognising democratic struggle as a fundamental force for societal transformation but do not delve deeper into how power imbalances can affect governance decisions.
Furthermore, while the authors discuss the coevolutionary nature of societal change, they do not fully explore how this can lead to unintended consequences or negative outcomes. They focus primarily on positive aspects of transformations towards sustainability without acknowledging potential risks or drawbacks.
Overall, while the article provides valuable insights into different conceptual approaches to transformations towards sustainability, it could benefit from a more balanced analysis of all four approaches surveyed and a deeper exploration of power dynamics in governance processes.