Academy of Finland grants funding for research addressing sustainability transitions

The Academy of Finland granted 514,259.00 euros of funding for The frontier of sustainability transitions. Cultural adaptations of sustainability policies in European peripheral regions project led by Senior Lecturer, Docent Simo Häyrynen at the University of Eastern Finland. The funding spans from 2016 to 2019.

Even though the urgency of creating a sustainable, resource-efficient, and low-carbon society nowadays is widely acknowledged, the transformation processes leading into such a direction are not progressing uniformly. The project makes a major contribution to the knowledge on the elements hindering or enabling sustainability transitions by focusing on how local cultures affect such transitions in peripheral communities. A peripheral mentality is regarded as a potential deviating context in the presumably linear transition processes. The sense of marginality may produce environmental chauvinism and give excuse not to adopt environmental ideas. Still, peripheral communities may also utilise sustainable growth to improve their position in the global competition.

The actual frontier of sustainability transitions is studied through three cross-disciplinary subprojects seeking the symbolic governance of collective identities in transition strategies: agri-environmental policies in local farming communities in North Karelia and Sicily, success stories of sustainable and smart in three Nordic regions and the influences of cultural factors in interpretation of sustainability strategies in Kainuu and Jämtland. The macro-analytical frameworks for multi-sited ethnography are strengthened by the extensive international collaboration for and examination of the political utilization of peripheral identities in different European contexts (e.g. Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Sweden).

The originality and innovativeness of the project is given by the formation of an "active peripheral agency" in sustainability transitions. Better understanding of the polymorphic nature of the adoption of sustainability policies is provided through conceptual topographies, and empirical verifications. The research theme elaborates the findings from the researchers' previous projects on transitions of resource-based industries.

For further information, please contact:

Senior Lecturer Simo Häyrynen, tel. +358 50 501 2427, simo.hayrynen(at)