A09
Encounters with and for circular economy initiatives

Convenors:
Helena Valve (Finnish Environment Institute)
Maria Akerman (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)
Chair:
David Lazarevic (Finnish Enviornment Institute)
Format:
Location:
Bowland North Seminar Room 2
Start time:
27 July, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Circular economy is envisaged as an alternative to the 'take-make-dispose' economic model. This panel invites STS-informed analyses throwing light on the realism of, and realities evolving along, circular economy initiatives. It welcomes papers focusing e.g. on practices of resource-making.

Long abstract:

The transition to a circular economy is envisaged as a shift from the current 'take-make-dispose' economic model to one that decouples welfare generation from the use of natural resources and negative environmental impacts. In the EU, the concept is high on the policy agenda. The rationale is to support the saving of scarce resources, enhance material efficiency and boost the utilization of surplus and waste materials. The attempts to reordering call for STS-informed analyses that can provide accounts of the realism of, and realities evolving along, circular economy initiatives. The changes deemed relevant may relate to the organization of production and service provision, every-day practices of living and consumption; and the establishment of new modes of resource-making. Although the circular economy is promoted through apolitical win-win narratives, no consensus can be expected to exist about the desired means and trajectories of change. Even when the transformations are advocated as radical and systemic, the simultaneous attempt is to keep some relations unchanged. Furthermore, the resistances and overflows of both human and non-human origin will ensure that circularity cannot be achieved once and for all. This raises questions about the terms and limits in which circular economy solutions appear, and can become, feasible. So what, in the end, should change and for whom? This panel welcomes contributions, for example, on - circular or sharing economy experiments; - circular economy governance and the role of governmental technologies; - management of and care for waste and surplus materials; - policies and practices of resource-making.