Circular economy through the lens of the forest metaphor – a teaching and learning perspective

E.H.E. Fromberg, C.A. Bakker, Joshua Entsminger, Chris Grantham, Adam Lusby, David Peck, Ken Webster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific

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The idea of a circular economy promises radically different outcomes compared to the current, linear economy. To explore new lines of enquiry to achieve these different outcomes, metaphors can be used to allow a learner to think about a circular economy differently compared to the current economy. Conceptual metaphors are especially powerful for this purpose since they influence most abstract patterns of thought, and they have systemic properties. Therefore, this research describes an intrinsic case study about the engagement of a group of students with the metaphor of a forest during a two-day postgraduate-level course. This research addresses the question: “to what extent does the forest metaphor allow students to rethink the relationship between businesses in a circular economy?“ Through this intrinsic case study, the insights, experiences, and perspectives of the students are analysed, after they have interacted with the metaphor of a forest.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th Plate 2023 conference
Subtitle of host publicationProduct Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE)
Place of PublicationAalto University
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-64-1367-9
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventPLATE 2023: 5th PLATE Conference - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 31 May 20232 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameAalto University Publication Series
ISSN (Electronic)1799-4861


ConferencePLATE 2023


  • circular economy
  • Conceptual metaphor theory
  • Teaching
  • nonlinear metaphor


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