Circular Economy as Fictional Expectation to Overcome Societal Addictions. Where Do We Stand?

Abstract

Circular economy thinking has become the subject of academic enquiry across several disciplines recently. Yet whilst its technical and business angles are more widely discussed, its philosophical underpinnings and socio-economic implications are insufficiently investigated. In this article, we aim to contribute to their understanding by uncovering the circular economy role in shaping a new vision, highlighting the social and economic dimensions of future imaginaries and the mechanisms that can enable them to bring about change in the social context. We believe that defining the vision that the circular economy is contributing to shape is key to explain its conceptual framework and activities. Drawing on the concept of fictional expectations, we uncover one of the plausible social dimensions inherent to the circular economy thinking thereby opening up a new perspective on the current debate in the circular economy literature wherein authors, by contrast, are emphasising the lack of an explicit social dimension. Fictional expectations are introduced to refer to those imaginaries of the future that can catalyse social action in the present and counteract societal addictions, in which modern society seems to be trapped. We show how a circular economy inspired vision can be instrumental to the emergence of a fictional expectation that can provide therapies to the current societal addiction of wasteful production and consumption systems. This philosophical background allows us to provide, in conclusion, a new conceptualisation of the circular economy as a cognitive framework instrumental to the emergence of a future imaginary.

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De Angelis, R., Ianulardo, G. Circular Economy as Fictional Expectation to Overcome Societal Addictions. Where Do We Stand?. Philosophy of Management 19, 133–153 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40926-020-00128-y

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Keywords

  • Vision
  • Circular economy
  • Fictional expectations
  • Societal addictions