Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Repair for a Broken Economy: Lessons for Circular Economy from an International Interview Study of Repairers

Version 1 : Received: 9 February 2021 / Approved: 10 February 2021 / Online: 10 February 2021 (16:21:37 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Niskanen, J.; McLaren, D.; Anshelm, J. Repair for a Broken Economy: Lessons for Circular Economy from an International Interview Study of Repairers. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2316. Niskanen, J.; McLaren, D.; Anshelm, J. Repair for a Broken Economy: Lessons for Circular Economy from an International Interview Study of Repairers. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2316.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 2316
DOI: 10.3390/su13042316

Abstract

The idea of replacing the broken linear economy with circular forms to help address the current sustainability crisis is gaining world-wide traction in policy, industry, and academia. This article presents results from an international interview study with 34 repair practitioners and experts in different fields. The article aims to improve understandings of the potential of repair so as to contribute to a more just, sustainable, and circular economy. Through a five-step qualitative method the results reveal and explore three tensions inherent in repair: first, repair activities constitute different forms of subjectivity; second, repair entails different and sometimes contested temporalities; and finally, even though repair is deeply political in practice, the politics of repair are not always explicit, and some repair activities are actively depoliticized. The opportunities and obstacles embodied in these tensions are generative in repair practices and debates, but poorly reflected in contemporary circular economy discourse. We conclude that a richer, more inclusive and politicized understanding of repair can support environmental justice in the implementation of CE and provide greater opportunities for just and transformational sustainability strategies and policies.

Subject Areas

values of repair; circular economy; environmental justice; politicization

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