Biting the bullet: Addressing the democratic legitimacy of transition management

How democratic is transition management? Throughout its twenty-year lifespan, the academic field has never adequately addressed the critiques that it lacks democratic legitimacy.

In this article, TOMORROW's partner DRIFT discusses the legitimacy framework for understanding how transition management practices can be legitimised within liberal democratic structures, while safeguarding their transformative potential while navigating innovation capture.

This framework guides a comparative analysis of the six pilot cities of TOMORROW and discuss the emphasis on liberal democratic norms, the fuzziness of practices of participation and the closing down of policy options. They recommend the legitimacy framework to be used as a heuristic for reflexive governance, tool for explicating the conditionality of ‘radicality’ in transition management, and guide for designing accountability governance structures.