The Governance of Socio-Technical Systems
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The Governance of Socio-Technical Systems

Explaining Change

Edited by Susana Borrás and Jakob Edler

Examining the “who” (agents), “how” (policy instruments) and “why” (societal legitimacy) of the governance process, this book presents a conceptual framework about the governance of change in socio-technical systems. Bridging the gap between disciplinary fields, expert contributions provide innovative empirical cases of different modes of governing change. The Governance of Socio-Technical Systems offers a stepping-stone towards building a theory of governance of change and presents a new research agenda on the interaction between science, technology and society.
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Chapter 8: Governing radical change through the emergence of a governance arrangement

Aurélie Delemarle and Philippe Larédo


Chapter 8 investigates the process through which radical change is governed, focusing on the activities of actors from a market perspective, from public policy makers to industrialists and to consumers. Considering the idea that markets can be organized and shaped, we follow the activities of those called ‘market shapers’ by Courtney et al. (1997). The literature on this topic is scattered. On the one hand, one stream of the literature deals especially with the role of a few individuals and their social and political skills to allow change (Fligstein, 1996; Fligstein and Mara Drita, 1996 on political entrepreneurs; Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006 on institutional entrepreneurs). On the other hand, another stream of the literature is focusing on the interactions between various levels (landscape, regime, niche) to explain radical change (such as the multi-level perspective (Geels, 2002, 2005) and strategic niche management). In our contribution to enlighten the debate on the governance of change, we argue that the two perspectives are complementary when we focus on the actors’ activities within and across what we call ‘arenas’. Thus, we propose to follow the building of market infrastructures (Delemarle and Larédo, 2012 and Delemarle and Larédo, 2013) through the arenas that produce them. Market infrastructures are defined as a set of rules (what actors are allowed to do), of norms (what they ought to do) and of values (what they want to do).

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