Circular Economy as an emergent form of economic and social exchange: A new theoretical framework to study the circular economy diffusion

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This conceptual article argues that circular economy should be incorporated into research, represented in a novel way as a form of economic and social exchange characterized by distinctive features. Building originally on work concerning diffusion sociology and cultural analysis of markets, it proposes to study cultural and social networks mechanisms of the circular economy to enhance the understanding of its diffusion dynamics. Three distinctive features of circular economy are introduced and illustrated with examples. The article concludes offering reflections for scholars on the potential way to shed light on the cultural and social mechanisms that may explain the circular economy’s diffusion in the economy in general, as a form of economic and social exchange.