Research ProjectThe Public Negotiation of Justice in Transitions to Sustainability (JuTSy)

In the ongoing debate over reconciling climate change mitigation, environmental protection, economic activities, and social equity, the concept of a just transition is emerging. Yet, various stakeholders attribute different, even antagonistic meanings to what justice could mean, leading to conceptual ambiguity and debates. Notwithstanding, how governments, media, civil society, and the private sector frame just transitions have implications for policies and societal pathways. Therefore, the project aims to understand how different meanings of justice shape public policies related to the transition to sustainability and impact citizen support for just transition policies, as well as in what way the sociospatial repercussions of these just transition policies influence citizens’ perception of transition policies.

The project is particularly interested in the public negotiation of justice in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), a region affected by climate change and pursuing decarbonization policies. The project builds on an interdisciplinary analytical framework, that combines knowledge from human geography, communication science, and political science to further our understanding of how societies negotiate just transitions and how politics both controls and responds to this public negotiation. While a geographical perspective pays attention to how perspectives on justice might differ according to spatial scales, communication research offers insight to understand how transition processes are communicated and framed. Political Science, in turn, helps us to understand what citizens perceive as just and what tenets (procedural, distributive, justice as recognition) are given priority to.

The project started in March 2024 and is seed-funded for two years by the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) within the framework of the Excellence Strategy put forth by the German federal and state governments.

JuTSy Team Members



  • Lehmann, R. & Tittor, A. (2023). Contested renewable energy projects in Latin America: bridging frameworks of justice to understand ‘triple inequalities of decarbonisation policies’. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 25(2): 182-193. Online first: 2021.
  • Porten-Cheé, P. (2017). Anschlusskommunikation als Medienwirkung. Der Einfluss von Relevanz und Qualität von Medieninhalten auf das Gesprächsverhalten. Nomos.
  • Porten-Cheé, P., Arlt, D. & Wolling, J. (2013). Informationssuche zwischen Energiepolitik und Energiespartipps. Einstellungs-Verhaltens-Relationen als Erklärungsfaktoren der aktiven Suche nach energiebezogenen Informationen. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft61(2), 183–201.