From transitions to transformation: The Political Economy of Governing Energy in a Carbon Constrained World
Peter Newell – University of Sussex
This presentation focuses on the potential contributions from literatures on (i) political economy in general (ii) the political economy of development in particular and (iii) global governance, with regard to debates on transitions and governance change for a sustainable economy. I try to show how these are useful for getting a handle on questions which I take to be central to any enquiry into governance, namely: 1. Who governs (and who does not)? 2. How do they govern? 3. What is to be governed (and what is not)? 4. On whose behalf?
What this does, in turn, is focus in on questions of power, structure and agency and the deeper politics of transitions which others have rightly identified as being neglected or downplayed in some approaches. I take these to be key to assessing ideas about: (a) How change comes about (in contemporary contexts and by looking back historically- what precedents are there? When has change come about before? Under what political, social and economic conditions?) (b) Understanding the terrain of social, political & economic power in which we are hoping transition will occur: sites of resistance to change as well as identifying the drivers of change (why some forms of governance are preferred over others) and (c) who is expected to do the transitioning: the contested politics of the direction and goals; as well as the means of transition (whose finance, whose technology, which institutions).
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