Laura van Oers and Julia Spanier presented at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference
Laura van Oers and Julia Spanier presented at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference.
Laura presented the paper titled ‘The Politics of Deliberate Destabilisation for Sustainability Transitions’ (see abstract below) in the session on ‘New and critical geographies of innovation’. Julia presented the paper titled ‘Disrupting capitalist countrysides: (un)making rural pasts, presents and futures in Community Supported Agriculture initiatives in Germany’ (see abstract below) in the session ‘For emancipatory rural futures in the metropolitan countryside(s)’.
‘The Politics of Deliberate Destabilisation for Sustainability Transitions’
This paper advances scholarship on deliberate destabilisation for sustainability transitions (e.g. Rosenbloom and Rinscheid 2020). Deliberate destabilisation as a governance strategy carries the assumption that the managed decline of unsustainable systems provides opportunities for alternatives to emerge. However, to understand how deliberate destabilisation plays out in practice, the politics of such processes must be confronted. We bridge research on the political economy of sustainability transitions with recent theorisations of the deliberate destabilisation of socio-technical regimes and propose a set of analytical dimensions and guiding questions for the study of the latter. We suggest how capitalist political economies shapes the rationale, process and outcome of deliberate destabilisation for sustainability transitions. The added value of our approach is demonstrated through the historical example of the phaseout of hen battery cages in the Netherlands. The poultry sector in the Netherlands embodies an industrial approach to food and farming, oriented towards producing large amounts of standardised and cheap food. Our research fosters new insights on the influence of intertwined political and economic interests for deliberate destabilisation processes, which may reproduce, rather than transform, unsustainable and unjust socio-technical regimes. The case of hen battery cages in the Netherlands shows how such incumbencies steered destabilisation processes towards a prolonged technology phase-out with manageable outcomes. Recognising the constraints and opportunities imposed by capitalist political economies will help avoid the risk of failure, delays or unintended side effects of deliberate destabilisation as a governance strategy for accelerated sustainability transitions.
‘Disrupting capitalist countrysides: (un)making rural pasts, presents and futures in Community Supported Agriculture initiatives in Germany’.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiatives are often rural-urban hybrids. Linking urban consumers to food producers located in the near and distant peri-urban peripheries of cities, CSAs have been found to have positive effects across the rural-urban spectrum—from the re-connection of consumers to the origin of their food, the re-enchantment of food production, the practice of food commons to the preservation of peasant agriculture. In this paper we examine the ways in which CSA initiatives are shaped by and in return transform the hybrid rural-urban geographies within which they are performed. We contribute to recent efforts to analyse CSA as prefiguration of post-capitalist economies by exploring how CSA initiatives may disrupt the capitalist urbanisation of the countryside by (un)making rural and periurban places. Our approach builds on Feola’s (2019; 2021) concept of ‘unmaking’ in combination with Ginn’s (2017) work on the materialisation of the past in sub-urban gardens, which raises questions about the roles the past may play in the initiatives’ (un)making of rurality, and their making of emancipatory, post-capitalist rural and periurban futures. We draw on interviews and participant observation in two CSA initiatives in Germany: one located in the ‘metropolitan countryside’ of an East German city, the other comparatively far from metropolitan reach in the South-West German countryside. In line with Robinson’s (2016) call for “thinking cities through elsewhere”, we think metropolitan countrysides both in and of themselves and through their supposedly non-metropolitan counterparts. We contribute to debates on contested countrysides and periurban landscapes by proposing rural-urban alternative agricultural initiatives as important actors in rural emancipation, suggesting that both internal rural dynamics, histories and memories, and metropolitan entanglements play a role in the making of emancipatory (metropolitan) countrysides, as do (un)surprising presences and absences of the rural past.