Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Circularity as Alterity? Untangling Circuits of Value in the Social Enterprise–Led Local Development of the Circular Economy

Lekan, Ma?gorzata; Jonas, Andrew E.G.; Deutz, Pauline


Ma?gorzata Lekan


In recent years, the circular economy (CE) paradigm has emerged as a mainstream policy discourse having the potential to disrupt linear economic development pathways by extracting and retaining the maximum value from existing resources through their recirculation. Highlighting the diverse circuits of value implicated in local CE development, this article considers how the ecological (material) and extraeconomic (social) premises of CE thinking can be harnessed through mission-driven social enterprises (SEs). Using a case study of a SE project in Graz, Austria, which is engaged in CE activities across the textile, interior design/wood, and food sectors, it proposes a novel heuristic framework for examining the role of circuits of value in constructing alternative circular narratives and local circular economic development trajectories. In doing so, this framework positions SE as an entity entangled in a complex web of interconnected material and social relations and practices that occur across coexisting mainstream and alternative economic spaces of production, exchange, and consumption. By aligning the CE concept with circuits of value, the article further shows the importance of mapping and conceptualizing value flows and feedback loops associated with the local development of the CE in a given spatial and temporal context.


Lekan, M., Jonas, A. E., & Deutz, P. (2021). Circularity as Alterity? Untangling Circuits of Value in the Social Enterprise–Led Local Development of the Circular Economy. Economic geography, 97(3), 257-283.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 14, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 15, 2022
Journal Economic Geography
Print ISSN 0013-0095
Electronic ISSN 1944-8287
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 97
Issue 3
Pages 257-283
Keywords Circular economy; Social enterprise; Circuits of value; Diverse economy; Local economic development
Public URL


Published article (5.3 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group, on behalf of Clark University.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations