GoST: Governance of Sociotechnical Transformations
The GoST project focuses on transformations in three areas of crucial relevance to sustainable development, relating in particular to pressing imperatives in countries of the Global South: energy systems, agriculture, and urban digital infrastructures. Each involves intricate North-South linkages that must be better understood for global sustainability efforts. Adopting a systematic comparative approach, GoST will use the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries, or collectively held visions of technological futures, to make sense of how imaginations of transformation help shape societal choices. Many challenges in the three focal areas are related to the prevailing imaginary, and solutions may require imagining radically new alternatives.
Through analysis of two interlinked parameters of transformation (dimensions and timelines of imagined change) across five countries (Germany, India, Kenya, UK, US), leading research centers in each will examine, in cooperation with key stakeholders, the frictions between imagined and experienced states in each focal area of transformation in each country. Through these analytic lenses, GoST aims for a methodologically innovative, integrative, empirically grounded approach that opens up new and nonlinear pathways of transformation. Expected outcomes and impacts: GoST will demonstrate feasible choices among alternative pathways for enacting socially progressive transformations towards sustainability, producing insights of immediate practical importance for how such transformations can best be governed in each selected area: by whom, to what ends, by what means, and with what welfare consequences for affected groups.
Project leader: Dr. S. Beck, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany)