This paper takes up the challenge of providing a conceptual power framework to be used in the context of sustainability research. First, challenges of sustainability research are discussed by focusing specifically on recent insights from Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA), and on that basis some requirements for concepts to be used in sustainability research are postulated. It is argued that two of the most important aspects of sustainability assessment research are the long-term dynamics of change and an interdisciplinary paradigm. Second, a dynamic power framework is presented that was developed in the context of research on socio-technical sustainability transitions, including the basics of this power framework as well as some empirical illustrations. Third, it is discussed how the presented power framework deals with time, change and long-term dynamics, and how this contributes to the state-of-the-art. Fourth, it is indicated how the power framework integrates interdisciplinary and interparadigmaticatic research requirements, and how this contributes to the state-of-the art. In conclusion, the arguments are summarized and some challenges for future research are distilled.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Avelino, F., & Rotmans, J. (2011). A dynamic conceptualization of power for sustainability research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19(8), 796–804. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2010.11.012