Reviewer Paul_Stubbs | Review

#411 Policies for Changing Cities – Anthropological Research on Transformation Instruments

Coresponding author's contact details

First name Britta Middle name Last name Acksel
Title M.A. Organization / Institution Institute for Advanced Study i.t. Humanities Essen Department n/a
Address Goethestraße 31 Postal / Zip code 45128 Country DE
E-Mail Hidden Phone number Hidden Presenting author Yes

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Abstract title

Policies for Changing Cities – Anthropological Research on Transformation Instruments

Abstract text

Cities are said to be key to ensure a future livable earth, since they are the places where more than half of the world's Green-House Gasses are emitted, while they are especially vulnerable to effects of current and predicted climate change. But what kind of policies are put into place to change this? Joining Anthropology of Policy with a Policy Instrumentation Approach I am introducing the concept of Transformation Instruments to answer this question. Roadmaps, model and best practice projects, action weeks, sustainability awards and others more all have in common that they are characterized by flexibility, voluntariness and limited temporality, as well as through their communicative and consultative character. Often described as “new soft forms of governance”, these tools seem to be center stage in the ever more pressing fight against global warming. Putting them in the spotlight instead of treating them as unpolitical and self-evident allows new insights into current future making. So how do Transformation Instruments actually work? My research on sustainability efforts directed towards three European post-industrial cities shows how e.g. activists, local administration and the European Commission use, shape and are shaped by Transformation Instruments. Based on my fieldwork in Malmö (SWE), Essen (GER), Almada (PRT), Brussels (BEL) and beyond I will demonstrate the practices employed and their effects and discuss chances and challenges of ethnographic policy research.

Conference topic

Panel no. 21 - An Anthropology of Policy: Legacies and Future Challenges

Preferred format


Abstract Review

This abstract was reviewed on 2021-01-13 10:59h by Paul_Stubbs

Reviewer decision