Actor roles in transition: Insights from sociological perspectives

Julia M. Wittmayer*, Flor Avelino, Frank van Steenbergen, Derk Loorbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


To date, the field of transition research lacks a suitable vocabulary to analyse the (changing) interactions and relations of actors as part of a sustainability transition. This article addresses this knowledge gap by exploring the potential of the concept of ‘roles’ from social interaction research. The role concept is operationalized for transition research to allow the analysis of (changing) roles and relations between actor roles as indicative of changes in the social fabric and shared values, norms and beliefs. It also allows considering the use of roles as a transition governance intervention. This includes creating new roles, breaking down or altering existing ones and explicitly negotiating or purposefully assigning roles, as well as the flexible use of roles as resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Actor roles in transition: Insights from sociological perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this