Local conflicts and national consensus : The strange case of circular economy in Sweden

Niskanen, Johan and Anshelm, Jonas and McLaren, Duncan (2020) Local conflicts and national consensus : The strange case of circular economy in Sweden. Journal of Cleaner Production, 261: 121117. ISSN 0959-6526

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Swedish press debate regarding the idea of a ‘circular economy’ is analysed to enable critical reflection on the development and use of the concept. We examine how actor positions formed around ideas of increased circularity. Using press material from 2012 to 2019 we identify positions on circular economy taken by Swedish companies, public authorities, political parties, and opinion makers. Our analysis reveals convergence amongst these actors at the national level despite ongoing situated local environmental conflicts. We show that this convergence is enabled by the convening power of ambiguity, which characterizes the use of circular economy ideas as a ‘floating signifier’ in the debate. In Sweden ideas of a circular economy may have been deployed by resilient capital to harness an otherwise economically disruptive process, as a new expression of ecological modernization. Further research into the political economy of circular economy ideas is encouraged.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Cleaner Production
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Cleaner Production. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Cleaner Production, 261, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121117
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? circular economyswedenenvironmental politicsnatural resourcesenvironmental science(all)strategy and managementindustrial and manufacturing engineeringrenewable energy, sustainability and the environment ??
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Deposited On:
26 Mar 2020 11:10
Last Modified:
23 Nov 2023 00:27