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Operationalising transformation theories: Exploring the transformative potential of social-ecological initiatives through qualitative comparative analysis across cases
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2020 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Achieving sustainability in the Anthropocene requires radical changes to how human societies operate and interact with the environment. The Seeds of Good Anthropocenes (SOGA) project has identified a diverse set of existing initiatives - called “seeds”- that are suggested to have the potential to catalyse transformations towards more sustainable pathways.

However, there is limited existing empirical testing, especially across arrays of cases, to identify the factors and conditions that can lead to successful sustainability transformations. Furthermore, transformations research has focused largely on northern contexts. I seek to address this gap through a comparative analysis of cases, using African-related social-ecological seeds as an initial piloting inquiry, to explore which factors may aid transformative potential.

To this end, a subset of eight potentially transformative and eight potentially non-transformative African seeds were selected, from the SOGA database. Transformative potential was classified based on seeds’ international recognition and signals of the amplification of their impact according to expert review. Building on a review of existing theoretical and empirical research, I developed a theoretical framework for assessments of the transformative potential of innovative social-ecological initiatives according to seeds’ (1) learning practices, (2) empowerment and (3) networking.

Finally, I applied this framework (including 21 questions) to the selected seeds, coding the presence or absence of these factors using secondary and publicly available data and conducting qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). This revealed the emergence of networking as a key feature amongst potentially transformative seeds. My results suggest the feasibility of my approach in assessing transformative potential using QCA. Moving forward, I recommend testing if including additional data sources and methods sheds more light on my remaining transformative categories emerging amongst the potentially transformative seeds.

Key words: seeds, transformation potential, qualitative comparative analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020.
Keywords [en]
seeds, transformation potential, qualitative comparative analysis
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178472OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178472DiVA, id: diva2:1389324
Presentation
2020-01-24, 15:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-01-29 Created: 2020-01-29 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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