This article takes up the challenge of moving beyond a dichotomous reading of ŉiches’ and ‘regimes’ in transition literature in order to grasp the power struggles involved in fundamental societal transformations. It is argued that the ‘practice turn’ in the social sciences, and particularly Knorr-Cetina’s perspective on objects of knowledge, offer a promising starting point for doing so. To understand the micro-politics of transitions, an analytic framework is developed that combines a focus on power with a focus on the creativity at work in the reconfiguration of novel practices. It is used to analyse innovations in the domain of Dutch greenhouse farming and research in the 1990s and 2000s. In contrast with the definition of niches as purposeful constructions, it concludes that innovative practices are gradually and experimentally created out of discontent with, and in relation to, existing practices and that power dynamics involved in the process are tied up with three forms of creativity: (1) the articulation of innovative networks and concepts, (2) the consolidation of the resulting transformation of existing practices, and (3) the innovation of actual material objects. The second form of creativity is employed notably by ‘regime-actors’.
- Greenhouse innovation
- Practice theory