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Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 283-305; doi:10.3390/su6010283
Article

Governing Sustainability: A Discourse-Institutional Approach

Kingston Business School, Kingston University, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 7LB, UK
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 6 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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Abstract

The paper considers problems and possibilities connected with governing and realising the “transition to sustainability”—or at least to a more deeply resilient energy system. Conceptually its focus is on neo-institutional analysis and critical discourse analysis and the development of a discourse-institutional perspective. The first strand of the paper outlines the limitations of and potential insights into the governance of sustainability transitions that may be derived from adopting an approach based on a more thoroughgoing appreciation and application of work in sociology on neo-institutional theory. The second strand of the paper concerns discourse, recognising the role of text, discursive practice and social structures in framing the possibilities considered available and legitimate for governance. The two strands are brought together in a discourse-institutionalist framework, an approach that is illustrated by a case study of microgeneration in the UK. The paper’s conclusion makes suggestions regarding the conduct of future research employing the proposed approach, and for furthering our understanding of issues connected with the governance of sustainability transitions.
Keywords: institutional theory; sustainable communities; critical discourse analysis; transition to sustainability institutional theory; sustainable communities; critical discourse analysis; transition to sustainability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Genus, A. Governing Sustainability: A Discourse-Institutional Approach. Sustainability 2014, 6, 283-305.

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