Neue Publikation von Dennis Eversberg, Jana Holz und Lilian Pungas (2022): “The bioeconomy and its untenable growth promises: reality checks from research.“ in Sustainability Science


This paper starts out from the observation that recent official bioeconomy strategies and policy concepts are markedly more moderate in their promises of economic growth compared to the high-flying expectations of a ‘biotech revolution’ promoted around the turn of the millennium. We argue that this stepwise process of moderation is partly due to a series of ‘reality checks’ to which various strands of research on the bioeconomy have (willingly or unwillingly) subjected these promises, forcing governments to move away from visions exposed as unrealistic and to adopt more humble ones. We identify four such ‘reality checks’, originating from research on (a) bioeconomy discourses and knowledges, (b) contestation and power dynamics among actors and competing interests in bioeconomy politics and policymaking, as well as on (c) the economic and (d) biophysical dimensions of existing bio-based economies. In conclusion, we argue that bioeconomy research should adopt a broader perspective that considers transitions toward bio-based processes and resources as but one element in a comprehensive social–ecological transformation of current modes of production and living, and that understanding the dynamics of societal conflict around that transformation is crucial for assessing the social possibility of bioeconomy visions.

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