Thesis ‘Power in Transition’ – Ian Rinkes & Razia Jaggoe

In de eerste helft van 2021 kwam Ian Rinkes terug naar Local2Local op Fort bij ‘t Hemeltje om antropologisch onderzoek te doen voor zijn deel van de thesis ‘Power in Transition‘ – A comparative Ethnography of the Micropolitics of Sustainability Transitions: The cases of a Short Food Supply Chain Ecosystem and a Municipal Effort in Energy Transition.

We wish to thank all of our informants for their time and energy in participating in our research. A lot of you have busy schedules and – put bluntly – better things to do. From Ian, special thanks to the people at Amped for letting him ‘hang around’ the office during a pandemic, in which he has seen a lot of important and fascinating work pass by. And thanks for the access to a range of individuals that he would otherwise have never reached. From Razia, many thanks to the project team at the municipality of Rotterdam, for taking her along during these months, allowing her to see the everyday office dynamics. Also special regards to our supervisor, Kees Koonings, for assisting us in – and giving us the freedom to set out – this piece of research with rather unusual aims for the anthropological discipline.

“You could sit down in a corner, and shout (…) But that has never really helped. So, yes, building on something structurally, to change a system. From the beginning it’s been about system change. Long road, long breath.” – M., April 29th 2021


Those working on changing ‘the system’ know all too well that it does not happen overnight. As awareness on the literal un-sustainability of current economical systems is growing, people across society are acknowledging the need for structural change. In our globally interconnected systems of living, mitigating the negative effects of those systems requires a transition involving changes in various arenas (Geels 2010; Rotmans 2012). Such a society-wide transition can only be understood from perspectives of longevity and complexity. In the Netherlands, the concept of transition – whether pertaining to energy, food, or other facets of life – is currently being used, lived and shaped by amongst others policymakers, civilians, entrepreneurs and scientists. While related to complex systems theory (Avelino and Grin 2016) and from there out an academical concept, the notion of transition plays a large role in various social settings. And maybe more importantly, vice versa, the social realities of those working on ‘the transition’ ultimately shape what the term entails. By looking at the everyday social worlds of two different contexts occupied with the food- and the energy transition, we aim to gain a better understanding of what really makes up a transition. Through focussing on the inherent power dynamics in both the effort to create short food supply chains (SFSC’s) in the Netherlands and the steering towards sustainable energy consumption in Rotterdam, we will show how the socio-political settings of these contexts shape the transitions themselves. Ian has researched the network of people striving for SFSC’s and more regional food systems, departing from the grassroots-initiated Taskforce Korte Keten (TKK). Razia has focused on the conventional hierarchical organization of the Rotterdam municipality, working on their city’s energy transition.

Dankjewel, Ian, het was mooi om je aan het werk te zien en onderdeel te zijn van het team en je goede werk maakt ons nog bewuster van het pad dat we nog moeten gaan!

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