This paper conceptualizes power and empowerment in the context of sustainability transitions and transition governance. The field of transition studies has been critically interrogated for undermining the role of power, which has inspired various endeavours to theorize power and agency in transitions. This paper presents the POwer-IN-Transition framework (POINT), which is developed as a conceptual framework to analyse power and (dis)empowerment in transformative social change, integrating transition concepts and multiple power and empowerment theories. The first section introduces transitions studies and discusses its state-of-the-art regarding power. This is followed by a typology of power relations and different types of power (reinforcive, innovative, transformative). These notions are then used to reframe transition concepts, in particular the multi-level perspective, in terms of power dynamics. The critical challenges of (dis)empowerment and unintended power implications of discourses on and policies for 'sustainability transitions' are discussed. The paper concludes with a synthesis of the arguments and challenges for future research.

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Environmental Policy and Governance
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Avelino, F. (2017). Power in Sustainability Transitions: Analysing power and (dis)empowerment in transformative change towards sustainability. Environmental Policy and Governance. doi:10.1002/eet.1777