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Toward an integrative framework for local development path analysis

Alastair W. Moore, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester; School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University
Leslie King, School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University
Ann Dale, School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University
Robert Newell, School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-10029-230213

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Abstract

Despite decades of debate and policy interventions, the wicked social-ecological problem of anthropogenic climate change continues to threaten the sustainability of local communities. Impacts resulting from a rapidly changing climate are now inevitable yet variable in their nature and timing, depending on the extent to which local communities can respond. Transforming to low-carbon communities requires the ability to interrupt the inertia in existing development paths and shift these to more sustainable trajectories. Intervening in local development paths to mitigate climate change requires understanding the multilevel interactions between actors, practices, structures, and ecosystems implicated in system transformations. In this paper we explore the synergies between the multilevel perspective on transitions, social-ecological systems thinking, and social practice theories. We use these to conceptualize an integrative analytical framework capable of assisting researchers and local governments to understand how development path trajectories are sustained, and hence, which local climate initiatives are more likely to change the inertia of current development paths, and which ones only tinker at their edges.

Key words

development path change; multilevel perspective; social practices; social-ecological systems; sustainability; transformation

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087