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Shifting Infrastructure Landscapes in a Circular Economy: An Institutional Work Analysis of the Water and Energy Sector

Mendel Giezen ()
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Mendel Giezen: Centre for Urban Studies, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 10, 1-17

Abstract: Under pressure by the transition towards a circular economy, the infrastructure landscape is changing. Using Institutional Work as an analytical lens, this article analyses the work actors do to change and adapt institutional structures. In this process of restructuring, the research shows that there are four dominant types of institutional work: Enabling, Constructing Identities, Constructing Normative Networks, and Changing Normative Associations. The increasing fragmentation of infrastructure as well as the increasing connections made between different flows forces organisations to readjust their internal institutions as well as those that guide their interactions with their surroundings such as other organisational actors as well as citizens. Circularity requires a restructuring of infrastructure governance in order to adapt to the increasing flux caused by decentralised technologies and the need for integration of different systems. Additionally, the actors associated with energy and water infrastructure are responding accordingly.

Keywords: circular economy; infrastructure; institutional work; new sanitation; decentralised infrastructure; water; energy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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