Special Issue | Material dependencies: hidden underpinnings of sustainability transitions | Van Assche, K., Duineveld, M., Beunen, R., Valentinov, V., & Gruezmacher, M.

Special Issue Journal Environmental Policy and Planning

Material dependencies: hidden underpinnings of sustainability transitions

Editors: Kristof Van Assche, Martijn Duineveld, Monica Gruezmacher, Raoul Beunen & Vladislav ValentinovNobody wants a return to material determinism (Marxist or otherwise) which dominated anthropology for a while, nor should we be waiting for a comeback of historicist approaches to landscape design, where the landscape can dictate what is coming next. This Special Issue therefore draws on evolutionary governance theory (EGT), together with a variety of other perspectives, and puts forward the concept of material dependencies as a useful way to connect governance, discourse, and environment. 

The contributions to this special issue explicitly aim to contribute to these inter-disciplinary debates on governance for sustainability. They explore the integration of insights from various disciplines to regain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of material environments, both natural and human-made, on the formation and functioning of communities, their cultures, and their governance systems. The collection aims to contribute to this collective re-balancing of theories between discursive and material by highlighting how both connect: in governance, where collectively binding decisions are made to shape, exploit and protect the environment while the wider social issues and governance are simultaneously shaped by its material substrate.

Material dependencies: hidden underpinnings of sustainability transitions
Van Assche, K., Duineveld, M., Beunen, R., Valentinov, V., & Gruezmacher, M.

Infrastructural legacies and post-Soviet transformations in Northern Sakha (Yakutiya), Russia
Schweitzer, P., & Povoroznyuk, O.

Materialities, discourses and governance: scallop culture in Sechura, Peru
Kluger, L. C., Schlüter, A., Garteizgogeascoa, M., & Damonte, G.

The modern railway and the Swedish state – competing storylines about state capacity, modernisation and material dependencies in the Swedish high-speed rail discourse, 1995–2020
Haikola, S., & Anshelm, J.

New problems for assemblage thinking: materiality, governance and cycling in Sydney, Australia
Lea, T., Buchanan, I., Fuller, G., & Waitt, G.

Tackling material dependency in sustainability transition: rationales and insights from the agriculture sector
Pellizzoni, L., & Centemeri, L.