Navigating Green Transformation: Four Narratives and Four Strategies

by Sergej Lugovic


As we stand at the crossroads of environmental sustainability, it’s crucial to explore the diverse narratives and strategies that can shape our path toward a greener future. In this blog post, we will first examine the Four Narratives of Green Transformation—Technocentric, Marketized, State-led, and Citizen-led—drawing inspiration from the insights shared in the book “The Politics of Green Transformations” by Scoones, Ian, Melissa Leach, and Peter Newell, published by Taylor & Francis in 2015. Later, we will dive into the Four Strategies for Change that can complement these narratives to drive meaningful transformation.

Four Narratives of Green Transformation

Technocentric Transformations

The “Technocentric Transformations” narrative emphasizes the role of technology in achieving sustainability goals, as discussed in the book by Scoones, Leach, and Newell. It posits that finding the right technological solutions can lead us to a greener future. However, it’s vital to recognize that technology alone cannot drive transformation. Political, economic, and social factors must be considered in tandem with technology for effective change.

Marketized Transformations

In the “Marketized Transformations” narrative, markets are viewed as the primary agents of sustainability, echoing the ideas presented in “The Politics of Green Transformations.” Through pricing, creating markets, and property rights regimes, this narrative seeks to harness market forces for greener outcomes. Nonetheless, the role of the state remains crucial in shaping and regulating markets, revealing the need for a balanced approach.

State-led Transformations

“State-led Transformations” highlight the pivotal role of the state in driving sustainability, a concept explored in the book by Scoones, Leach, and Newell. This narrative calls for stronger frameworks of social control and emphasizes the historical significance of state intervention in innovation and financing. It recognizes the power of states to shape green transformations but also raises questions about their willingness and capacity to challenge incumbent power.

Citizen-led Transformations

The “Citizen-led Transformations” narrative places citizens at the forefront of sustainability efforts, drawing inspiration from grassroots movements discussed in “The Politics of Green Transformations.” It advocates for bottom-up approaches and emphasizes the importance of grassroots movements in challenging existing power structures. By taking control over resources and fostering alternative economies, citizens can play an active role in democratizing technology, production, and institutions.

Narratives of green transformations: diagnoses and solutions

Four Strategies for Change

Shaping and Resisting Structures

To drive change within existing structures, the strategy of “Shaping and Resisting Structures” is vital, as elaborated in the book by Scoones, Leach, and Newell. This strategy recognizes that capitalism’s diversity and unevenness require nuanced approaches to transformation. Understanding the power of finance capital and its potential for decarbonization, as well as differentiating types of finance, can be key drivers of change.

Reframing Knowledge

“Reframing Knowledge” is a strategy that focuses on challenging discursive structures that limit our understanding of sustainability issues, a concept explored in “The Politics of Green Transformations.” Opening up discussions, allowing for discursive reframing, and promoting deliberation and dialogue are essential steps in this process. Whose knowledge counts in the development of authoritative sustainability knowledge is a crucial question this strategy addresses.

Realigning Institutions and Incentives

“Realigning Institutions and Incentives” recognizes the potential of strong states in pushing change, as discussed by Scoones, Leach, and Newell. This strategy highlights the importance of different institutional configurations in green transformations and raises questions about states’ capacity to fulfill their roles. It also addresses the issue of state capture and the changing global context.

Mobilizing and Networking

Finally, “Mobilizing and Networking” is a strategy that emphasizes civic action and grassroots movements, echoing the insights shared in “The Politics of Green Transformations.” Historically, these have been powerful drivers of change. Grassroots practice and bottom-up innovation challenge dominant framings, resource distributions, and technological priorities. By connecting across scales and between movements, this strategy offers diverse possibilities for transformation.


In our journey toward green transformation, understanding the narratives and strategies at play is essential. These Four Narratives of Green Transformation and Four Strategies for Change provide a comprehensive framework for addressing sustainability challenges. Effective change often involves a combination of narratives and strategies, reflecting the complexity of our environmental and societal issues. By navigating these pathways thoughtfully, we can work toward a more sustainable and equitable future.