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Regime resistance and accommodation: Toward a neo-Gramscian perspective on energy transitions

July 16, 2021

A new piece in Energy Research & Social Science by CSSN Scholar Peter Newell and Adrian Ford examines regime resistance and accommodation using Gramsci.


Transition scholars are increasingly addressing questions of power and politics in their explanations of the direction and form of sustainability transitions. Drawing on insights from neo-Gramscian scholarship to enhance the conceptualisation of power in sustainability transitions, we develop a theoretical account of how combinations of incumbent actor resistance and accommodation contribute to regime stability and change. We use this to understand how incumbent firms and their industry organisations contribute to the (re)production of a socio-technical regime by drawing on material, institutional and discursive forms of power to execute strategies of resistance and accommodation. This helps embellish understandings not only of the nature of the power of specific incumbent actors tied to a particular regime, but also of the operation of incumbency as a deeper system of power. We apply a neo-Gramscian lens to the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions: a lens comprised of multiple interrelated concepts, including hegemony, historical bloc, integral state, war of position, passive revolution and trasformismo, whose contributions we outline in turn.

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