This paper provides a survey of policy process theories and their usefulness in transitions research. Some research has already used such theories, but often in an ad hoc and relatively cursory way and with little attention to potential alternatives. However, it has been argued that transition scholars need to pay more attention to the politics of policy processes. We argue that a critical stocktaking of policy process theories is a prerequisite for future transition studies that more systematically respond to these challenges. Therefore, we review five prominent policy process theories and their applicability in transition studies. We point to two weaknesses of empirical applications of these approaches that are of particular relevance for transitions research: their focus on single instruments or policy packages, and their neglect of policy outcomes. We conclude by suggesting avenues for research on the linkages between policy processes, policy mixes, and socio-technical change.
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