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Narrating expectations for the circular economy: Towards a common and contested European transition

This article explores the EU Public Consultation on the second Circular Economy package through an analysis of the position papers of European stakeholders. It analyses the ways the texts formulate expectations about circular economy and its becoming. The expectations for the circular economy – (1) a perfect circle of slow material flows; (2) a shift from consumer to user; (3) growth through circularity and decoupling; and (4) a solution to European renewal – carve out a common future where only winners exist. The findings show that the European discussion sets high hopes on what circular economy can do. Less emphasis is given to the actions required for making systemic change. The danger here is that the assumptions underpinning these expectations may become taken-for-granted statements, the result being that space for critical and hesitative reflection diminishes.

Keywords: Circular economy, Expectations, Transition, Narratives

Authors: David Lazarevic and Helena Valve

Published 2017-07-14 at 15:05, updated 2017-07-14 at 15:04