Identity in sustainability transitions : The crucial role of landscape in the Green Heart

Janssen, Annelli; Beers, P.J.; Mierlo, Barbara van


This article proposes that identity formation and reformation are important dynamics that influence and are influenced by the course of a sustainability transition. We study identity (re-)formation in the transition of the dairy sector in a rural area in the Netherlands: the Green Heart. Soil subsidence, high emissions, and economic pressures require substantial changes in practices in the dairy sector and most importantly, the landscape that it is intertwined with. We use narrative analysis to study identity (re-)formation in two new stakeholder collectives that aim to address sustainability in the area. We identify discrepancies between the narratives in these collectives and the transition challenge. These discrepancies can be explained by the role that the landscape of the Green Heart plays in the identity (re-)formation within these collectives. The attachment to the current landscape forms a lock-in for the sustainability transition in this area.