Governance of Discontinuation of Sociotechnical Systems
The Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS) is pleased to announce a new international research project on the ‘Governance of Discontinuation of Sociotechnical Systems’ (short: DiscGo). Project leaders in Twente are Prof Stefan Kuhlmann and Dr Peter Stegmaier.
It is a grant from the second round of the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA) by four European national research funding agencies, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), which provides €9 million to fund ten collaborative research projects over the next three years, among which the DiscGo project is one.
This project aims at a better understanding of the governance of the abandonment of socio-technical systems. It asks what discontinuation means as a problem of action for policy-makers. So far, the governance of socio-technical systems has preferentially been associated with advancement and innovation. Discontinuation of socio-technical systems is, at most, discussed as regime change, innovation setback or failure—as if advancement and innovation was the only direction in which socio-technical development and governance would go.
The DiscGo research consortium consists of research groups at the University of Sussex, Brighton (United Kingdom), the TU Dortmund University (Germany), the Unité Science en Société (SenS) at the Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société, IFRIS, Paris (France) and the University of Twente, Enschede (The Netherlands). The UT based group is coordinating the consortium.
For present purposes, the focus will be on the four particular cases of
(1) commitments to phase out nuclear power from its current major role in the energy sectors of several countries worldwide, with others ceasing earlier-planned nuclear expansion; discontinuation efforts have been accelerating since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Spring 2011;
(2) a major trend in automotive drive engineering to replace fossil fuel combustion technology by (battery) electric engine technology, a trend that has been speeding up since the global economic recession in the late 2000s;
(3) the synthetic pesticide DDT which was banned for agricultural use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention in 2004;
(4) the phase-out of the incandescent light bulb technology through the EU regulation 244/2009, based on the Eco-Design of Energy-Using Products Directive 2009/125/EC, started in the EU in 2009.
Each case exemplifies in different ways the policy pace, political will and institutional momentum required in order to transform wider governance environments so as to achieve such large-scale shifts in socio-technical infrastructure. This project will reconstruct the links between the main types of discontinuing transition pathways, actors and interactions in the four case studies. They will reveal key connections between discontinuation, innovation, and active policies politically organising and shaping socio-technical change.
For further information, please contact:
Liersch, C. C. and P. Stegmaier (2022). "Keeping the forest above to phase out the coal below: The discursive politics and contested meaning of the Hambach Forest." Energy Research & Social Science 89: 1-19.
Stegmaier, P., et al. (2021). "The incandescent light bulb phase-out. Exploring patterns of framing the governance of discontinuing a socio-technical regime." Energy, Sustainability and Society 11: 1-22.
Stegmaier P, Kuhlmann S and Visser VR. (2014) The Discontinuation of Socio-Technical Systems as Governance Problem. In: Borrás S and Edler J (eds) Governance of Systems Change. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 111-131.
Stegmaier P, Kuhlmann S and Visser VR. (2012a) Governance of the Discontinuation of Socio-Technical Systems. Jean Monnet Conference: The Governance of Innovation and Socio-Technical Systems in Europe: New Trends, New Challenges. International Workshop, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
Stegmaier P, Visser VR and Kuhlmann S. (2012b) Governance of the Discontinuation of Socio-Technical Systems—An Exploratory Study of the Incandescent Light Bulb Phase-out. 4S/EASST Conference. Panel on The governance of innovation and sociotechnical systems: design and displacements – I, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
Stegmaier, P. (2019) Killing the Coal. On governing the discontinuation of coal energy production Nordic STS Conference; Session: How do technologies die?, Tampere
Stegmaier, P. (2017) The Reflexive Creation of Exiting: the Governance of Discontinuation Summer School ‘Perspectives on Innovation Society’, Berlin, 17 June 2017
Stegmaier, P. & Kuhlmann, S. (2016) Capturing How Obsolescent Innovation Must Give Way: the Discontinuation Governance Heuristic and the Phase-out of the Incandescent Light Bulbs in the EU) STePS Annual Research Days, Enschede, 14 June 2016, University of Twente
Stegmaier P. (2015) Discontinuation Governance—Basic Patterns. 5th DiscGo Workshop Twente 15 January 2015, Enschede, Twente University, IGS Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies.
Stegmaier P. (2014) Discontinuation as a Problem of Governance Making. Outline of cognitive, social-psychological and psychological aspects of what can be called ‘discontinuation governance’. Dept. of Psychology, Health & Technology (PHT) Colloquium, 7 October 2014. Enschede, Twente University
Stegmaier P. (2014) The Discontinuation of Socio-technical Systems and Technologies as a Problem of Governance in Action. 3rd DiscGo Workshop Dortmund, 5 February 2014. Dortmund, Technology Studies Group, TU University of Dortmund
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2014) Discontinuation as a Problem of Governance Making. 4th DiscGo Workshop Paris, 15 July 2014. Paris, IFRIS, SenS
Schulte A.K. (2014) Light Industry as Actor & Factor in the Discontinuation of the ILB. 4th DiscGo Workshop Paris, 15 July 2014. Paris, IFRIS, SenS
Kuhlmann S. and Stegmaier P. (2014) The Discontinuation of Socio-technical Systems and Technologies as a Problem of Governance in Action (DiscGo). Towards a Research Model. 3rd DiscGo Workshop Dortmund, 6 February 2014. Dortmund, Technology Studies Group, TU University of Dortmund
Stegmaier P. (2013) The Discontinuation of Socio-technical Systems and Technologies as a Problem for Governance in Action. WTMC Workshop fall 2013: Publics, Problems, and Technologies, 8 November 2013. Ravenstein, Soeterbeeck
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2013) The Art and the Problem of Purposeful Ending: The Governance of the Discontinuation of Incandescent Light Bulbs in the Netherlands. The 5th Biennial Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation, 28 September 2013. Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2013) The Governance of the Discontinuation of Socio-technical Contexts. 2nd DiscGo Workshop Brighton, 10 July 2013. Brighton, SPRU, University of Sussex
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2013) Discontinuation Governance as a Neglected Dimension in STI Studies. Conference of the Eu-SPRI Forum 2013 ‘Management of Innovation Policies’, 12 April 2013. Madrid
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2013) The Governance of the discontinuation of socio-technical systems. ORA Project Launch Meeting, 15 February 2013. Enschede, Twente University, IGS Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies
Stegmaier P. and Kuhlmann S. (2013) Can socio-technical systems be abandoned? Studying the governance of discontinuation. Colloquium of the Innovation in Governance Seminars, Innovation in Governance Research Group, 22 January 2013. Berlin, TU Berlin, Center for Technology and Society
Kuhlmann S. and Stegmaier P. (2012) Governance of the discontinuation of socio-technical systems. University of Groningen, School of Economics and Business, I&O Seminar, September 6, 2012
Kuhlmann S., Stegmaier P. and Visser V.R. (2012) Discontinuation governance of socio‐technical systems—how to abandon outdated technology? Editorial Board meeting of the Asian Research Policy, Seoul, 28 August 2012
Kuhlmann S. and Stegmaier P. (2012) The Neglected Transformation of Socio-Technical Systems―Discontinuation Governance. Eu-SPRI Conference 2012 ‘Towards Transformative Governance? Responses to mission-oriented innovation policy paradigms’, 12 June 2012. Karlsruhe, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
Stegmaier P. (2011) The governance of discontinuation of Socio-technical Systems, their Regimes and their Infrastructures. Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS) Colloquium, 14 December 2011. Enschede, IGS Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies, Twente University