Constructing Sociotechnical Transitions Toward Sustainable Agriculture

F. Charao Marques, F. Kessler Dal Soglio, J.D. van der Ploeg

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


This paper provides an analysis of knowledge generation and ‘novelty production’ into new social arrangements within a sociotechnical transition scenario. The purpose is to contribute to the debate about convergences between creativity, learning and collective action for enhancing the sustainability into agriculture. By raising a Multilevel, Multi-actor and Multi-aspect analytic framework, built with elements from Multilevel Perspective and Actor Oriented Approach, we have examined emerging ‘novelties’ generated by family farmers who have been producing medicinal plants under ecological systems in the Southern of Brazil. This production system was considered as a novelty, being composed by a ‘web of novelties’, i.e. as integrated whole of new techniques and social practices that are at odds with prevalent sociotechnical regime. The ‘novelty production’ depends on dynamic learning processes, related to knowledge contextualization, enabled through the mobilization of social networks, crucial for creating opportunities to bring together different bodies of knowledge. Farmers and other actors are creating spaces of autonomy in which we recognized some characteristics of ‘niche of innovation’, a social space where rules and institutional apparatus can be ignored; it is a privileged locus for innovativity. Otherwise there are difficulties in stabilizing specific networks around ‘medicinal plants’, in this way it will be necessary to create political and social conditions in order to involve actors from several domains, like researchers, extensionists, consumers and policy makers. Farmers in seeking autonomy are renewing the agriculture as an activity rooted locally and contributing to generate potential transitions to prevalent sociotechnical regime.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventSymposium Innovation and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food (ISDA), Montp -
Duration: 28 Jun 20101 Jul 2010


ConferenceSymposium Innovation and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food (ISDA), Montp

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