The changing roles of actors in ‘fortuitous’ sustainability transitions: An analysis of Brazil's passenger vehicles fuel technology from 1970 to 2020

Lívia Moraes Marques Benvenutti, Lucila Maria de Souza Campos*, Diego Vazquez-Brust, Catherine Liston-Heyes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustainable socio-technical transitions refer to the multi-dimensional shifts societies undergo when they move from one socio-technical system to another that is perceived to be less damaging to the environment. A well-known theoretical framework – the multi-level perspective (MLP) – is often used to investigate the factors that trigger or hamper these shifts. However, to deal with the complexity of sustainable transitions, authors have increasingly complemented it with the multiple stream approach (MSA) in an effort to capture a wider range of factors and contexts. This ‘augmented’ approach is used to investigate transformations in the fuel-technology used in Brazil's passenger vehicle fleet from 1970 to 2020, with a focus on the actors involved in the transition. In addition to capturing this unusual story through the lens of social-technical transitions, our analyses highlight the changing role regime outsiders and dormant policies played throughout this period, while emphasising the importance of ‘fortuitous’ windows of opportunity. In doing so, we complement the existing literature on sustainable socio-technical transitions by adding contextual factors that may be particularly relevant for developing economies in their attempts to address persistent sustainability problems. Our approach also delivers new technological forecasting insights that can assist transition planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122584
Number of pages14
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date28 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Apr 2023


  • Brazil
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Multiple stream approach
  • Passenger vehicles
  • Transitions

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