Reframing the future: the role of reflexivity in governance networks in sustainability transitions

Jifke Sol Ir*, Merel M. van der Wal, Pieter Jelle Beers, Arjen Wals

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Regional sustainability networks in the Netherlands are rooted in regional culture and have an emphasis on social learning and effective collaboration between multiple actors. The national ‘Duurzaam Door’ (Moving Forward Sustainably) Policy Programme regards these networks as generative governance arrangements where new knowledge, actions and relations can co-evolve together with new insights in governance and learning within sustainability transitions. In order to understand the dynamics of the learning in these networks we have monitored emergent properties of social learning between 2014 and 2016. Our focus is particularly on the interrelated role of trust, commitment, reframing and reflexivity. Our aim is to better understand the role and the dynamics of these emergent properties and to see which actors and roles can foster the effectiveness of social learning in regional transitions towards more sustainable ways of living. We used a retrospective analysis with Reflexive Monitoring in Action (RMA), which we combined with the Most Significant Change approach. We found that reflexivity in particular is a critical property at moments that can make or break the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1405
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number9
Early online date30 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • commitment
  • reflexivity
  • reframing
  • regional governance networks
  • social learning
  • Sustainability
  • transitions
  • trust

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