Keywords: governance, transitions, transition management, sustainability, sustainable agriculture, theoretical multiplicity, sustainable energy, greenhouses, sustainable development, horticultural sector, societal change, multi-actor collaboration, network governance, policy agenda setting, adaptive management
Towards theoretical multiplicity for the governance of transitions: the energy-producing greenhouse case
Transition management has become an important topic in scientific research on sustainable development over the last decade. A recurring question is whether, and if so how, transitions towards sustainability can be governed. In this paper we address this question by theoretically comparing transition management theory with a number of related theories on governing societal change, such as multi-actor collaboration, network governance, policy agenda setting and adaptive management. We illustrate the different approaches by analysing the Dutch transition case of the greenhouse as a source of energy from different theoretical perspectives. We conclude that these theories reveal additional and more varied leadership mechanisms and steering options than the overarching approach of transition management alone. Therefore, we suggest an approach of theoretical multiplicity, arguing that multiple theories need to be applied simultaneously for dealing with the complex societal sustainability issues.