Individual Paper: Circular Economy from below – How can ecopreneurship and social entrepreneurship be mobilized for degrowth?
Big business and states have been aware of environmental problems (as for example climate change) for a long time, but have failed to take up the challenge to any significant extent. Meanwhile, agents of change in various forms are emerging on the grassroots level. This research project will study such agents of change in eco- and social entrepreneurship as well as their intra-action with rules, regulations and policy on a national scale. These actors strive to enable new, innovative forms of consumption, based on a circular economic model of bio-based and renewable resource use. Should such initiatives be seen as greenwashing to perpetuate ecomodern visions, or could they be understood as, or turned into, small pebbles of degrowth in the fossil fuel based global machinery?
Today ideas of circular economy have been brought into the core of transnational organisations such as the EU, states such as Sweden, and business sectors such as the mining industry. This research project deals with how the change from a linear to a circular economy also proposes changes in organisation models. We will compare two different forms of organisation models for sustainability (non-profit and commercial), and two different forms of entrepreneurship (ecopreneurship and social entrepreneurship). With the combination of ethnographic field studies and material flow analysis we will research four different case studies in the sectors of transport and food. The studies will give broad and deep knowledge about what kind of organisations are needed in a circular economy and what institutional conditions may facilitate or obstruct such initiatives. They will also help us answer critical questions, like whether these kinds of initiatives serve to sustain the unsustainable, or if they might actually help bring us onto another path. We will present our research plan, the case studies and the theoretical framework through which we intend to analyse the material. Further, we will give preliminary examples of possible analysis.
Start time: 11:30
Room: ABF (209)
Track: Critical Social Theories