Improving repair viability in the circular economy: a multifaceted endeavor.
conference contributionposted on 2021-06-17, 10:23 authored by Angelina Korsunova, Annukka Vainio, Eva Heiskanen
In the context of circular economy (CE) repair represents an important value retention strategy, as it adds value to goods, instead of using it up. Previous studies have explored individual level motivations and barriers to engaging in repair activities, and barriers typical to certain categories of goods. In our study we explore repair on the level of the economy: drawing on citizens’ personal repair experiences and insights of several key actors relevant for making repair more attractive and viable in the CE. Thus, our study aims to understand societal structures that enable or impede repair in the context of Finnish society. Understanding the social realities of repair calls for a theory capable of accommodating both macro-level factors and micro-level processes. In our analysis, we apply structuration theory to illustrate how non-repair practices are enabled by existing societal structures, such as rules and resources, and reinforced via discursive rhetoric and practical consciousness. Based on the analysis we propose integrative solutions to encouraging repair as a societally important activity, involving different actors across production and consumption. First, we suggest that integrating explicit content on repair to basic education can lead to new collaboration opportunities between schools, municipalities, and repair entrepreneurs. Second, introducing positive rhetoric on repair requires organizing activities that engage actors from multiple industries to stimulate dialogue and innovative thinking. Re-establishing repair as a vital industry for a more circular society calls for processes that help to better integrate repair to local ecosystems.