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GoST: Governance of Sociotechnical Transformations

The GoST project will focus on transformation processes in three areas of crucial relevance to sustainable development, relating in particular to pressing imperatives in countries of the Global South: energy systems, agriculture, and urban digital infrastructures. Each implicates intricate North-South linkages that must be better understood for global sustainability efforts. Adopting a systematic comparative approach, GoST will use sociotechnical imaginaries as a conceptual tool to make sense of how collective imaginations of transformation have determined present conditions. Many challenges in the three focal areas are related to the prevailing imaginary, and solutions may require radically new imaginaries. Through analysis of two interlinked parameters of transformation (dimensionality and temporality) across five nations (Germany, India, Kenya, UK, US), leading research centers in each will examine, in cooperation with key stakeholders, the differences between imagined and experienced states in each focal instance of transformation in each country. By rethinking transformation through these lenses, GoST presents a methodologically innovative, integrative, empirically grounded approach that goes beyond usual characterizations of transformation as a linear process of development. Expected outcomes and impacts: GoST will demonstrate feasible choices among alternative pathways for enacting socially progressive transformations towards sustainability, producing insights of immediate practical importance regarding how such transformations can best be governed in each selected area: by whom (Call Theme 1), to what ends, by what means (3), and with what welfare consequences for affected groups (2).

Research team

Dr. S. Beck, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Prof. A. Stirling, University of Sussex
name Principal Investigator from the United States t.b.a.