It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things” (Machiavelli, 1532).

In this innovative work, Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Monica Gruezmacher analyse the challenges and possibilities of sustainability transitions, presenting the dilemmas facing the path to more sustainable communities and societies, as well as proposing creative solutions. The authors deploy evolutionary governance theory as a conceptual framing for transition strategy, highlighting the importance of understanding governance and community strategy in any potential response to environmental crises.

This timely book expertly draws on a wide range of disciplines and theories, in considering the limitations imposed by unpredictable dynamics of power, discourse and affect and the shifting boundaries of what is governable. The authors demonstrate the creative potential of both instabilities and rigidities in governance. Chapters detail the basics of evolutionary governance theory, developing and applying it to transition strategy by engaging in an accessible manner with post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, institutional economics, systems theory and critical management studies. In a clearly constructed theoretical narrative, the results of this engagement become clear, in a new understanding of the weight of the past on governance and community, the construction of temporality, change and strategic change, contextual notions of good governance, and how these affect major shifts towards sustainability.

Strategy for Sustainability Transitions is an important addition to an ever-expanding and crucial field. Particularly relevant to practitioners and policy-makers interested in sustainable development and environmental governance, it will greatly appeal to students and scholars of human geography, public policy and administration, environmental politics and planning and development studies.