Announcements and Calls

Special issue call on “the Contested realities of the Circular Economy”

Culture and Organization

This special issue of Culture and Organization invites contributions that question the Circular Economy in innovative ways. This special issue aims at bringing together critical, interpretive and theory-driven papers that go beyond the often repeated, but largely a-historical, a-practical, and a-theoretical, claims that the Circular Economy will help organizations solve 21st century problems. There is, for example, a rich history of economic and social practices (think of the frugality of survival practices during various wars) that could be seen as precursors of the Circular Economy, and one might ask: If such practices have been around for some time, why have they not been able to address the questions the Circular Economy aims to answer? Likewise, the Circular Economy has a lot to say about materials and their flows, but very little about humans and the social dimension of circular activities.

We welcome contributions that address the organisational and social aspects of the Circular Economy, including questions of power, process, and labour; its cultural aspects, including symbolic, political, and historical dimensions; its theoretical aspects, including how the Circular Economy relates to organizational theories of sustainability, change, and materiality; and its ethical aspects, including questions of justice, Otherness, and responsibility. Here is an indicative, arbitrary and in no way exhaustive list of possible topics:

  • Ethnographies of organizational transitions to the Circular Economy, including specific aspects of such transitions, such as product design, restorative and regenerative strategies, and the development of circular business models.
  • People at work in the Circular Economy: organizational, local, regional, and global approaches.
  • The Circular Economy and innovation, for example recycling techniques, technologies, information technology and social media.
  • Organizing materials in a circular economy, from mines to landfills (and the atmosphere) via storehouses and homes.
  • Scales of circularity: micro-, meso- or macro-loops?
  • The Circular Economy and systemic transformations of consumption.
  • Circular-economic governance: soft, strict, or otherwise (e.g., nudge), exploring, in particular, the role of incentives and legislation.
  • The Circular Economy and master-metaphors: from utopias to dystopias, from socialism to sustainable development, and from the myth of the eternal return to the Anthropocene.
  • The management of externalities in the Circular Economy.
  • The Circular Economy experience of countries at war, for example Nazi Germany, but also of countries under embargo, for example Cuba.
  • Regional differences in the Circular Economy, for example between the “Global North” and the “Global South”; circular economy and de-globalization.
  • Examining the discursive development of the Circular Economy, focusing on the roles of key organizations and institutions, such as the Ellen McArthur Foundation, McKinsey, the European Union and the World Economic Forum.
  • Deconstructing the Circular Economy discourse, for example, how the European Union connects the Circular Economy to safety as much as environmental sustainability.
  • The Circular Economy as aesthetic, but also as play, derision, irony, and provocation.
  • How the contemporary circular economy fails.
  • The Circular Economy as paradign shift.

Qualitative papers that open new spaces of reflection and understanding of the Circular Economy in organizations are welcome, regardless of their theoretical sources of inspiration. Innovation in writing and composing style are also welcome. In addition to scholars working in management and organization studies we therefore welcome contributions from – inter alia ­- anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, art history, communication, film, gender and cultural studies.

Submission Instructions

Please ensure that all submissions to the special issue are made via the ScholarOne site. You will have to sign up for an account before you are able to submit a manuscript. Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (Volume 26, Issue 2) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems, please contact the editors of this issue.

Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found at the journal’s website. Manuscript length should not exceed 8000 words, including appendices and supporting materials. Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not, you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.

Manuscripts must be submitted by November 15th 2018.

Prospective authors are invited to discuss manuscript ideas for the special issue with the guest editors before the deadline for submissions.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Hervé Corvellec, Lund University
  • Guest Editor: Steffen Böhm, University of Exeter
  • Guest Editor: Alison Stowell, Lancaster University
  • Guest Editor: Francisco Valenzuela, Nottingham Trent University
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