11-17 July, 2010
Workshop on "Solidarity and Social Economy", XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology
Gothenburg, Sweden

Research Committee on Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management RC10

Democracy: the resource of last resort in a crisis

Call for Papers
Paper proposals should be sent before 10th November 2009 . See the ISA website.

Session 4: Social and solidarity economy
Organizer: Anup Dash, Utkal University, India, dashanup@hotmail.com

Social and Solidarity Economy(SSE), as an approach to the study and structuring of the economy, represents an alternative to both the Market Economy and the Political Economy variants of the mainstream, orthodox neo-classical economics. Both as an idea and as practice, it has been evolving through a search for answers to the problems created by the hegemonic structure of the market economy. As a result, SSE today presents an extremely rich and complex reality, and refers to an umbrella for a confederation of diverse concepts (e.g., solidarity finance, socially responsible investment, social enterprise, alternative money, peoples’ economy, fair trade, microfinance etc.) and a wide range of innovative experiments (cooperatives, self-help groups, local savings groups, time banks, LETS etc.) sprouting up at the margins of the economy that subordinates profits to human ends, reclaims the market for social ends and democratizes the economy.

At the heart of these diverse forms of expression is an attempt to create an alternative communitarian response to the growing gaps in meeting citizens’ needs created especially by the recent developments in the market economy (globalization of the market) and in the political economy (decline of the welfare State). Thus the contemporary rise and growth of SSE around the world is explained in terms of the “state failure” and the “market failure” theories.
As an alternative philosophical system, it challenges the science and craft of neo-classical economics built around the “Rational Choice” paradigm based on the instrumental rationality and the ontological construct of the homo economicus and offers a contrastive explanation of the “human agency” – situated and embedded, multi-dimensional, by the cooperative logic and motivated by an ethical purpose.

This session will focus on the theoretical and empirical analyses of the development of the SSE in a comparative perspective and examine the problems and possibilities of the SSE in making another world possible through building an inclusive, participative, self-managed, democratic, ethical, and sustainable peoples’ economy rooted in the values of communitarianism, cohesion, and cooperation.