Skip to main content

David J. Hess

Professor of Sociology
James Thornton Fant Chair in Sustainability Studies
Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment
Director, Program on Environmental and Sustainability Studies

What is the role of social movements, industry, scientific research, and political parties in the pace at which governments support the transition to more sustainable technologies?

The world today is often described as a "knowledge society or technological society." I view attention to issues of knowledge, technology, and the politics of industrial development not merely as specialty areas but as crucial sites for understanding the contemporary world. My current work focuses on the politics of industrial transitions, especially factors that lead to a more sustainable economy and society and factors that lead to stasis in transition policies. In this area of work I am interested especially in the dynamics of coalitions in support of and opposed to policies in support of more sustainable technological and industrial systems. I investigate the role of incumbent industries, countervailing industrial power, scientists and research, social movements and advocacy groups, entrepreneurs, and the small business sector. This body of work includes studies of industrial opposition movements and alternative industrial movements.