There is a substantial body of literature on public understandings of largescale ‘environmental’ phenomena such as climate change and resource degradation. At the same time, political science and economics analyse the governance arrangements to deal with such issues. These realms of research rarely meet: there has been little research into people’s understandings of the governance of environmental change. This study adds a psychological perspective to governance research by investigating social representations of governance that promotes societal change towards sustainability, and related practices. It examines data from qualitative interviews with sustainabilityinterested people in seven European countries (n = 105). The analysis identified building blocks of representations suitable as an analytical framework for future research on governance representations. The diversity of their content reflected a range of pathways to societal change. Representations often seemed to have a creative function as a guiding vision for individuals’ own practices, but their wider transformative potential was constrained.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Community initiatives, environmental governance, grassroots, practices, social psychology, transition management
Persistent URL,
Journal Environmental Politics
Fischer, A, Spekkink, W, & Polzin, C. (2018). Social representations of governance for societal change towards sustainability: the perspectives of sustainability advocates. Environmental Politics, 27(4), 621–643. doi:10.1080/09644016.2018.1448559