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The shadowy side of innovation: unmaking and sustainability

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/2012
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Journal number4
Volume24
Number of pages18
Pages345-362
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Transitions towards more sustainable ways of life depend on the development or reintroduction of lower carbon sociotechnical arrangements and the demise of other more resource intensive configurations. Within the fields of innovation studies and transitions theory, processes of emergence and stabilisation are better documented and more widely discussed than those of disappearance, partial continuity and resurrection. In this article I refer to the recent history of cycling in the UK and in other European countries, using this as a means of identifying questions that lie at the margins of current debate but that are important in understanding how incoming and outgoing configurations co-exist, how dormant remains of past regimes come back to life, and how innovation journeys start over again. I argue that there are new questions to be found in the shadows of innovation studies, and that these are important for academics and policy makers interested in developing and promoting more sustainable sociotechnical systems, aspects of which are foreshadowed by ways of the past.