The Circular Economy at a Crossroad: Technocratic Eco-Modernism or Convivial Technology for Social Revolution?

19 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2019 Last revised: 30 Mar 2020

See all articles by Andrea Genovese

Andrea Genovese

University of Sheffield

Mario Pansera

University of Bristol

Date Written: September 24, 2019

Abstract

In the last decade, the concept of ‘Circular Economy’ (CE) has gained prominence in the political and corporate discourse around the world. According to its proponents, CE represents a new paradigm that will push the frontiers of environmental sustainability by transforming the relationships between ecological systems and economic activities. In this paper we discuss how this idea is problematic for a number of physical, economic and political reasons, claiming that the biggest shortcoming of the CE discourse is represented by its apolitical framing. We call for opening up a debate to deconstruct the increasingly hegemonic discourse of CE based on a technocratic approach and reconstruct it by embedding normative and political dimensions. Finally, we propose a countervailing discourse of CE based on the idea of convivial technology.

Keywords: Circular Economy, Sustainability, Eco-Modernism, Convivial Technology

Suggested Citation

Genovese, Andrea and Pansera, Mario, The Circular Economy at a Crossroad: Technocratic Eco-Modernism or Convivial Technology for Social Revolution? (September 24, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3459180 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3459180

Andrea Genovese

University of Sheffield ( email )

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

Mario Pansera (Contact Author)

University of Bristol ( email )

University of Bristol,
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol, BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

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