Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

Transition Culture has moved

I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

16 Jun 2011

Debating Transition on ABC Radio’s ‘Bush Telegraph’ programme

I wrote the other week about a debate I had been on on ABC Radio in Australia with writer, artist and psychotherapist Dr Chris James about Transition.  The discussion was chaired by host Michael Cathcart and it explored her idea that Transition “a way of opting out while consumer society carries on business as usual” and, quite bizarrely, seems to blame Transition for the increase in attacks on refugees in Australia!  You can listen to the piece, or download it as a podcast for your listening pleasure, here.

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


Patricia Kahler
16 Jun 9:03am

I Think she thought that Transitioners thought we were the total answer to Climate Change!
I dont think she realt realises the implications of peak oil! I also dont think she gives enough credit to the Movement! To be Healthy and Sustainable has got to go a long way to helping address our present Environmental dilemma! It all helps! I say go the Transitioners for a better future!

Nick Towle
16 Jun 11:27am

G’day Rob,
Actually my feeling is the interview was quite good overall. Michael Cathcart was certainly onside and gave a good plug for Transition.
It sounds as though Chris James makes a point that many people engage with Transition and then disengage from local democratic processes (by this I’m referring to local decision making processes/public submissions as opposed to Transactivism). We have seen this phenomenon here in Australia and I have articulated this issue before on your blog. I think what you’re observing is a number of slightly divergent re-interpretations of the original Transition concept.
As for the Chris James’ perspective on globalism I do believe she misses the link between oil consumption and global capital. I believe other Australian academics may critique this perspective, a relocalisation of the debate as it were.
Looking forward to other perspectives on this.
Yours in transition,
Nick T

Graeme Stuart
16 Jun 1:17pm

I listened to the show too and agree with Nick that overall it was a good show. I found Chris Jame’s position a bit strange. She was making some valid points but I couldn’t always follow why she was concerned about TT. Clearly the transition movement doesn’t address everything that needs to change in the world. But it doesn’t mean that we are part of the problem. After listening to the show I reflected on four roles of social activism identified by Bill Moyer and we clearly need people fulfilling each of the roles.

I’d agree that TT isn’t the most radical organisation around, but that doesn’t mean we are misguided.

It was good to have some airtime, just a shame that Chris’ criticism were a bit off mark.

Nick Towle
19 Jun 4:44am

Having searched for and read a number of other articles by Chris James it would seem the exchanges may be an example of Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis whereby each of you are coming from quite different cultural stories (paradigms). The Incommensurability Thesis is quite well explained by Dan Bednarz in an article of his “But you’ve offered no solutions”“but-you’ve-offered-no-solutions”-an-illustration-of-kuhn’s-incommensurability-thesis/

Therefore we discover there are many people who are attracted to aspects promoted through Transition, such as reconnecting with others in their community, but later leave or criticise the concept when they can’t seem to fit it neatly into the ‘growth paradigm’.

Previous articles by Chris James reflect arguments which are deeply rooted, in the growth paradigm.