The community economies of Esch-sur-Alzette: rereading the economy of Luxembourg

Gerald Aiken, Christian Schulz, Benedikt Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article outlines the community economies of Esch-sur-Alzette, the ‘second city’ of Luxembourg. ‘Community economies’ – an approach outlined by J.K. Gibson-Graham – draws attention to alternative narratives of economic development and the representation of economic identity. Despite (the Grand Duchy of) Luxembourg’s reputation as a European Union centre, with substantial finance and tax activity, Esch-sur-Alzette is a post-industrial and multilingual melting pot. The alternative narrative here is of the multiple community-based organisations and movements in Esch-sur-Alzette: an energy cooperative, urban gardening, an upcycling clothing factory, a local food shop and restaurant, and vibrant civil society discussions and interventions in (inter)national politics. Civil society, while central to both understandings of grassroots environmental action and the community economies framework of Gibson-Graham, takes on quite a different flavour in Luxembourg. This article then takes the case of Luxembourg to reread the relationship of the state to the so-called third sector, in doing so defending the political possibilities of community economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-229
Number of pages19
JournalVoluntary Sector Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2020


  • community economies
  • rereading for difference
  • community initiatives
  • circular economy
  • luxembourg
  • degrowth

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