To date, the field of transition research lacks a suitable vocabulary to analyse the (changing) interactions and relations of actors as part of a sustainability transition. This article addresses this knowledge gap by exploring the potential of the concept of 'roles' from social interaction research. The role concept is operationalized for transition research to allow the analysis of (changing) roles and relations between actor roles as indicative of changes in the social fabric and shared values, norms and beliefs. It also allows considering the use of roles as a transition governance intervention. This includes creating new roles, breaking down or altering existing ones and explicitly negotiating or purposefully assigning roles, as well as the flexible use of roles as resources.

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Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Wittmayer, J., Avelino, F., van Steenbergen, F., & Loorbach, D. (2016). Actor roles in transition: Insights from sociological perspectives. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. doi:10.1016/j.eist.2016.10.003