Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Barbara Ribeiro, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
We analyse bioeconomy national strategies (Finland, Germany and the UK) to understand how the bioeconomy is framed in terms of its social, environmental and economic opportunities (i.e. regimes of promises). Drawing on Entman (1993), we conducted a qualitative frame analysis of the strategies using NVivo 10 as support software. The sketches summarised here build on the emerging themes identified from the analysis. (1) Finland (The reformist): the Finnish strategy has a focus on the national and regional capacities of the country. These are related to availability of natural resources and expertise to produce domestic solutions to global challenges. The bioeconomy aims to achieve ambitious sustainability goals, but there is no reference to potential challenges or negative outcomes. Employment generation is expected as an automatic result of new bioeconomy businesses and services. This is aligned to bold assumptions and estimations for economic growth, generation of businesses and profit. (2) Germany (The mythical beast): the government is represented as the champion of the bioeconomy, which is portrayed as the ultimate tool to address the social and environmental challenges faced nationally and worldwide. Drawbacks are recognised along the strategy, but these are much less prominent than solutions for them. Germany emphasises the bioeconomy as a broader biotechnological enterprise, not restricting themselves to specific sectors. The strategy offers numbers that illustrate the high economic expectations focused on bioeconomy markets and capitalisation processes. (3) The UK (The agnostic): the UK strategy is particularly different as it focuses on the use of waste as raw material for high-value products in the bioeconomy. Although there are similarities with the other two in terms of promises, these are much less bold here. The UK emphasises the notion of competitiveness, however this has a minor prominence in content coverage. There is also a visible prominence of allusions to economic growth, business opportunities and profit from the bioeconomy, but the strategy does not provide exact figures. Although strategies are important rhetorical devices that guide political action, we found that a) more attention should be paid to earlier and current debates on the sustainability of the bioeconomy; b) their scope should be broader to include other sociotechnical systems that are not solely based on highly-industrialised models and c) a more coherent discourse on what is the bioeconomy and the changes that promotes is needed.