Bregje van Veelen
Associate senior lecturer
My research looks at how social dynamics shape the outcomes of low-carbon transitions. This means I am interested in how social interactions (such as participatory processes, culture and norms) and forms of organising influence in the implementation of low-carbon transitions. Additionally, I am not only concerned with the environmental or climate impact of transtions, but also their social impact. I thus ask how low-carbon transitions can contribute to the kind of society we want to be. Underpinning all this is the understanding that there is more than one way to a low-carbon society, I therefore ask how different pathways emerge, evolve, and to what effect.
Broadly speaking there are three strands to my research. Firstly, I look at new actors and spaces of climate governance. For example, I have looked at how community groups as well as institutional investors are undertaking climate action, and if & how they are changing the ways in which climate mitigation is governed. Secondly, I am interested in the temporal dynamics of change: how past, present, and future interact. For example, I look at how expectations of the low-carbon (or post-carbon) futures influence current-day decisions, but also how past processes and people's memories of them shape the way in which they respond to change today. Finally, throughout my research to date I have analysed the normative dimensions of change: Are changes towards a low-carbon society democratic and just? I have researched this question in the context of energy transitions through the concept of 'energy democracy' and am currently looking at what a just transition could look like in regions that have already phased out fossil fuel extraction or are expected do so in the future.
I currently lead two research projects:
- Post-carbon: Imagining the future to unmake the present. This project focuses on the ways in which post-carbon futures for high-carbon regions are imagined and contested and the implications of this for achieving a 'just transition'. It involves case studies in Canada, the Netherlands and Scotland.
- Changing places of Work. This project looks at changes in the Swedish steel industry. It asks what will happen to places where the steel industry is based when industrial activities move or change? But also: Can such changes be channeled into something positive? How can industrial change help communities to thrive in low-carbon economies of the future?
In addition to these two projects I am also co-leading a network funded throug the Scottish Government's Arctic Connections Fund, which aims to bring together expertise on the theme Supporting rural women in Arctic low-carbon transitions.
I have previously been a post-doctoral researcher on the project Realising Innovation in Transitions for Decarbonisation at Durham University in England, and conducted my PhD research on Energy democracy and community energy governance at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Displaying of publications. Sorted by year, then title.
Bregje van Veelen is an Associate Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). She researches how low-carbon transition pathways emerge and evolve, and how they can be implemented in a way that is democratic and fair. She holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Edinburgh.