Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)
CET Virtual Lunch Seminar

Populism, Instability, and Rupture in Sustainability Transformations

CET is excited to announce this CET Virtual Lunch Seminar with Tarje Wanvik, CET Affiliate and Research Director for Forecasting Engine at NORCE.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CET Lunch seminars are currently online.

Main content

The recent surge in populist politics in Europe and North America has challenged many of the policies aimed at advancing sustainable shifts. In this article we argue that this surge necessitates a rethinking of transition and transformation. The mainstream perspective on transitions understands it largely as the proliferation and upscaling of innovative technologies and policy frameworks. We recast sustainability transitions and transformations as continuous processes of assembly and disassembly, driven by rupture and instability. Rather than seeing populist resurgence as a “barrier” to change toward sustainability, we argue that these ruptures and instabilities should be considered inherent to the transformation process itself. The recent local election in Bergen, Norway, witnessed the surge of a new “anti-elite” political party dedicated to protesting road tolls that finance public transport. We hold that although such movements certainly pose challenges to sustainable transitions, they also provide opportunities for revitalizing democratic politics—moving beyond postpolitical managerial governance and inviting new concerns into local and urban transformation processes.

About the speaker

Dr Wanvik is a human geographer and communicator with hands-on experience from public, private and non-governmental sector management.

Specialties include Climate change: adaptation and mitigation, Urban development, Social justice, Corporate Social Responsibility, Governance, Contested energy spaces.

As always, the CET Lunch Seminars are open for anyone interested so please feel free to share within your networks and on social media.