In search of seeds: Exploring and classifying sustainability-oriented labs in real-world contexts
Licentiate thesis, 2021
Alongside socio-technical niches and experiments, labs in real-world contexts have emerged as appealing entities that situate and localize around complex sustainability challenges. Their diverse form and positive connotations suggest a novel form of experimentation with purposeful and transformative aspirations. Yet, labs in real-world contexts hold different normative commitments, many of which are arguably tangential to sustainability. The purpose of this thesis is to establish a normative understanding of laboratories in real-world contexts through the adoption of sustainability as an organizing concept. Methodologically, my research emerged from and was shaped by one interconnected process, a systematic yet exploratory review.
In this thesis, I generate knowledge claims on a collection of labs that intersect disciplines and areas of application. I derive seven research communities linked to sustainability-oriented labs in real-world contexts, and present labs as a combination of spaces, processes and ways of organizing. I develop an empirically grounded typology of labs according to engagement with sustainability as a generic matter of concern, substantiated in place. This typology illuminates similarities and differences across six different lab types. I then point towards reflexive governance as a helpful extension for further understanding labs in the context of transitions towards sustainability. Moving forward, I plan to adopt learning as a lens for qualitative case-based inquiry, enabling a contextual understanding of lab processes in practice.
Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory
Sustainability-oriented labs in real-world contexts: An exploratory review
Journal of Cleaner Production,; Vol. 277(2020)p. 1-18
McCrory, G., Holmén, J., Schäpke, N., & Holmberg, J (2021). Taking sustainability seriously: an empirical typology of sustainability-oriented labs.
The Chalmers University Foundation, 2016-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.
Areas of Advance
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Digital Defence - available publicly on Zoom
Opponent: Kes McCormick, Associate Professor, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University, Sweden