Exploring workshop. Essay Collection

Imagined futures of the Circular Economy

Daniel Welch (University of Manchester)Margit Keller (University of Tartu) and Giuliana Mandich (University of Cagliari)  

‘Circular Economy System Diagram’ https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/interactive-diagram

The essay sketches some lines of enquiry into how ‘everyday futures’ are imagined in discourse around ‘the Circular Economy’. The Circular Economy is offered as a model for a significantly more environmentally sustainable economy, an alternative to the current “linear economy” of “make, use, dispose” (WRAP, n.d.). The discourse has grown in prominence in recent years, with the EU recently reframing its policy commitments to sustainable production and consumption in terms of the Circular Economy (EC 2015). We examine examples from the national contexts of Estonia, Italy and the United Kingdom, and the EU level, to explore how everyday life and consumption are imagined in the future of the Circular Economy. We offer some initial sketches, drawing on practice theory (e.g. Schatzki, 2002) and conventions theory or ‘pragmatic sociology’ (e.g. Boltanki and Thévenot, 2006; Thévenot, 2001) and suggest further theoretical articulations to be pursued through the empirical area. Download full PDF