Of Loops and Circles: Imaginations and Indicators of ‘Circularity’ in EU Policy Making on the Circular Economy
In this contribution we ask for the multiple meanings of ‘circularity’ in EU policy-making and explore the ongoing assembling and stabilizing of a particular imagination of circularity in a range of different sites. To do so we will draw on the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff & Kim, 2009, 2015). Imaginaries are understood as collectively shared visions of desirable societal futures (social and technical order) and as a way to analyse contingencies in policy-making through highlighting especially the futuristic orientation of policy narratives.
The aim of this contribution is to explore how the vision of a circular future is being established and which social, political and epistemic orderings are related to these futures. We will proceed in three steps: first, we will discuss from a historical perspective how a particular imaginary of circularity has been assembled, rehearsed, contested and stabilized in the development of the different legislative proposals of Circular Economy. Building on that, we will look at indicators and that are currently in development for monitoring and ‘measuring’ circularity and show how indicators need to be understood as a specific site in which imagination are stabilized. In a third step we will ask for the performative dimensions of these indicators and for potential alternatives.