The Circular Economy in Europe presents an overview and a critical discussion on how circularity is conceived, imagined and enacted in current EU policy-making.
In 2013, the idea of a circular economy entered the stage of European policy-making in the efforts to reconcile environmental and economic policy objectives. In 2019 the European Commission declared in a press release that the Circular Economy Action Plan has been delivered. The level of circularity in the European economy, however, has remained the same.
Bringing together perspectives from social sciences, environmental economics and policy analysis, The Circular Economy in Europe provides a critical analysis of policies and promises of the next panacea for growth and sustainability. The authors provide a theoretical and empirical basis to discuss how contemporary societies conceive their need to re-organise production and consumption and explores the messy assemblage of institutions, actors, waste streams, biophysical flows, policy objectives, scientific disciplines, values, expectations, promises and aspirations involved.
This book is essential reading for all those interested in understanding how ideas about the circular economy emerged historically, how they gained traction and are used in policy processes, and what the practical challenges in implementing this policy are.
Preface by Series Editor
Chapter 1: Introduction: The 16th Century map
Has the Circular Economy been delivered?
The 16th Century Map
Part I: A difficult concept
Part II: Critiques of the circular economy
Part III: A way forward?
How to read this book
Chapter 2: Limits to Growth: Historical Antecedents of the Circular Economy
The context: the tension between the economy and the environment
The circular economy: building blocks of the concept
A fragile alliance
Chapter 3: Enter Ellen: The Circular Economy Hits the European Scene
2013 – Ellen MacArthur Foundation
2014 – A cautious transition to the circular economy
2015 – A more ambitious vision of the circular economy
2016 – Implementing the Circular Economy
2017 – Public Performance of the Circular Economy
2018 – Measuring the Circular Economy
Chapter 4: Circular Economy: A concept in the making
The legitimacy crisis of the European Union
The institutional context of the European Commission
Climate change and the context of environmental concerns
What comes next (in the book)
Chapter 5: Postulating Circularity: Biophysical Flows and the Problem of Entropy
Can the economy go in circles? What would that mean?
Humans and their economic activities are dissipative systems
Stocks, flows and funds
Squaring the circle: Economic growth, sustainability and the circular economy
Chapter 6: Imagining Circularity -The Circular Economy as a Sociotechnical Imaginary
Imagination in technoscience and policy -Imagining circularity
Times, futures and collective imagination
Imagination as collective practice
Imagining circularity in EU policy
Assembling imaginative resources
Imagining circularity and rehearsing tropes
Chapter 7: Measuring Circularity: Indicator Development in the Circular Economy
Quantification in governance
Measuring progress and quantifying circularity
Numbers, collective imagination and authority
Chapter 8: Governing circularity: How to Govern in the Nexus
Techno fixing policy
An apparent consensus
The Circular Economy has been delivered
Chapter 9: Narratives of Stop and Go
Introduction: going beyond unfair criticisms of the proponents of the circular economy
Bios & Geos: two competing grand narratives
Narratives of Stop and Go
Chapter 10: What kind of science is needed in a changing world?
Knowledge for a changing world
Governance in complexity
Scientific advice to policy
Some problems may not have a solution
Less ambitious, more sensible policies
Chapter 11: From the 16th to the 21st Century
Coming to terms with incomplete knowledge
Logic of choiceand logic of care
The 21stCentury map
Non-violence and non-action: ancient oriental perspectives on governance
Routledge Explorations in Sustainability and Governance aims to expose the glaringly obsolete narratives currently used to frame relevant sustainability issues and to provide alternative, fresh narratives better tuned to our present reality. The books in this series will contribute useful insights to the debate on sustainability by providing a critical appraisal of ideological leftovers and outmoded and perhaps dangerous beliefs, as well as a more sobering view of the role of technology and innovation in relation to sustainability. This book series will be characterized by politically incorrect views, thinking outside the box, and unorthodox proposals in relation to sustainability of human development.
We invite book proposals that address a relevant issue in relation to the framing of sustainability issues and/or governance, by exposing a systemic problem found in the pre-analytical framing – i.e. the adoption of an obsolete narrative (perception/representation of an issue), and provide an alternative take on it and a possible way out from the box.
To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (Rebecca.Brennan@tandf.co.uk).