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Transition approaches

Posted on | February 8, 2015 | Comments Off

WG6 – Transition approaches

Rurality, agriculture, and urbanization, are part of diverse realities around the world and within countries. One should differentiate specific situations, with different characteristics depending on territorial conditions and development standards, among others. The related concerns are in consequence different and diverse.

From a transition perspective, the conference theme is challenging in different ways:
First, it challenges scientists and practitioners to understand the changes on different scale levels (after Geels, 2002). Could transition theory enable us to analyse the changes from a multi-level perspective? What pressures the urbanisation and the developments in agriculture and food systems? What is going on at the institutional level? What is enabling or hindering the mainstream agriculture and food systems to anticipate urbanisation? Regarding local initiatives, what examples of niche-experiments can be identified that impact the prevalent regime? Case studies and conceptual reflections on past or ongoing developments could help us dealing with this challenge. We also invite contributions about transitions in the mainstream agriculture and food systems, to enable a better understanding of the relations with urbanisation, local food systems, multifunctional agriculture.
A second challenge : could the transition perspective advance initiatives in reconnecting agriculture and food chains to societal needs? This requires intervention strategies that are both conceptually sound and practically proven. Besides the transition domain, network theories and concepts could also be helpful to support initiatives to work on a successful (re)connection between actors from agriculture, food chain and society.
A third challenge: from an actors centered perspective we could ask Who decides for the rural development? And for the urbanizing areas? Why is it so? Which institutions are in charge of the policy decisions and implementations? How do they contribute to improve opportunities for development? Do local actors participate in the main decisions for rural and agricultural development? Let ‘s consider changes from: 1) a dichotomic urban-rural approach to a complementary, interdependent rural/urban, 2) rurality as subsidiary of urban biased decisions, to rural communities as acting agents of change development and decision makers of their own related concerns, and 3) from urban predominant policy targets to rural communities like strategic partners.

We especially invite contributions showing a connection between transition & innovation theory and the practical level of innovation initiatives and projects.

Contributions addressing the following questions are welcome:

a. Which transition and innovation concepts and theories could enable a better understanding of the dynamics of agricultural, rural and urban transition processes on different levels of analysis?
b. Can we understand the challenges for the mainstream agriculture and food systems from the perspective of urbanisation? What regime changes are necessary and which intervention strategies are effective or promising in changing the regime?
c. What operational approaches and tools for policy, business and innovation initiatives reconnect agriculture, food systems and societal needs? Which processes will be needed to engage on long term commitments and short term imperatives? What capabilities are needed?

Both, conceptual and case-oriented contributions from different countries are called for.


Pieter de Wolf, PPO, Wageningen UR
Emiel Wubben, Wageningen UR, The Netherlands
Myriam Sánchez M, Corporación Biotec, Colombia


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