Directionality across diversity: governing contending policy rationales in the transition towards the bioeconomyFeb 6 2017
Journal article in Sustainability, published online February 3, 2017.
Although the bioeconomy has been embraced by many governments around the world as a way of responding to the grand challenge of climate change, it remains unclear what the bioeconomy is and how it can contribute to achieving these broad policy objectives. The aim of this paper is to improve our understanding of whether, and how, the bioeconomy includes contending rationales for governance and policy-making. In order to do this, we apply a typology of three bioeconomy visions onto the policy discourse on the bioeconomy. These visions are (1) a bio-technology vision; (2) a bio-resource vision; and (3) a bio-ecology vision. Based on a discourse analysis of 41 submissions to a public hearing on the development of a bioeconomy strategy in Norway, the paper explores the actors involved in shaping the new bioeconomy and analyses their positions on this emerging field. The paper finds that it is possible to categorise the consultative inputs into these three visions, and also that the bio-resource vision is predominant, which reflects the structure of the national economy. Moreover, the paper reflects upon how the contending visions observed imply negotiations and power struggles, which may hamper directionality in the current socio-technical transition.