Creating Positive Change
Making the research process as transformative as the experience and practice of Transition.
Transition is inherently transformative, seeking to shift society away from fossil fuel dependency and a fixation with growth to a focus on fulfilling individual and collective needs within ecological limits. It is widely acknowledged that this will not only imply changing the way we do things, it will also involve radical inner transformations, both personal or psychological and collective or cultural. In industrialised societies, we have inherited social and economic structures, worldviews and mindsets that developed in conditions of endlessly increasing availability of energy and other resources, and are ill-suited to the current need to adapt to ecological constraints. Research on Transition makes sense only if it contributes to the necessary changes in some way. It also has the potential to be transformative of the Transition process itself, and for those taking part in it.
A curious paradox afflicts university research. While it supposedly represents the cutting edge in the production of new knowledge, its intimate relationship with established social, economic and political structures creates strong pressures to conservatism. For this reason, much university research is concerned with finding new ways to maintain the status quo, rather than addressing the need for positive social change, and can not easily engage with either the ethos or practice of Transition on terms consistent with its underlying agenda.
Photo: Sophy Banks and Ben Brangwyn.