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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Social and Solidarity Economy: Beyond the Fringe

  • Author(s): Peter Utting
  • Contributor(s): Jean-Louis Laville, John-Justin McMurtry, Suzanne Bergeron, Stephen Healy, Carina Millstone, Darryl Reed, Roldan Muradian, José Luis Coraggio, Milford Bateman, Marguerite Mendell, Béatrice Alain, Cristina Grasseni, Francesca Forno, Silvana Signori, Paul Nelson, Georgina M. Gómez, Cecilia Rossel, Bénédicte Fonteneau, Justine Nannyonjo, Abhijit Ghosh, Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Bina Agarwal
  • Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development
  • Project Title: Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy
  • No. of Pages: 400

Social and Solidarity Economy: Beyond the Fringe
To view the introductory chapter, please click here.

As economic crises, growing inequality and climate change prompt a global debate on the meaning and trajectory of development, increasing attention is focusing on 'social and solidarity economy' as a distinctive approach to sustainable and rights-based development.

While we are beginning to understand what social and solidarity economy is, what it promises and how it differs from 'business as usual', we know far less about whether it can really move beyond its fringe status in many countries and regions. Under what conditions can social and solidarity economy scale up and scale out - that is, expand in terms of the growth of social and solidarity economy organizations and enterprises, or spread horizontally within given territories?

Bringing together leading researchers, blending theoretical and empirical analysis, and drawing on experiences and case studies from multiple countries and regions, this volume addresses these questions. In so doing, it aims to inform a broad constituency of development actors, including scholars, practitioners, activists and policy makers.

Introduction: The challenge of scaling up social and solidarity economy - Peter Utting

PART I History, theory and strategy
1 Social and solidarity economy in historical perspective - Jean-Louis Laville
2 Prometheus, Trojan horse or Frankenstein? Appraising the social and solidarity economy - John-Justin McMurtry
3 Beyond the business case: a community economies approach to gender, development and social economy - Suzanne Bergeron and Stephen Healy
4 Can social and solidarity economy organisations complement or replace publicly traded companies? - Carina Millstone
5 Scaling the social and solidarity economy: opportunities and limitations of Fairtrade practice - Darryl Reed
6 The potential and limits of farmers' marketing groups as catalysts for rural development - Roldan Muradian
7 Institutionalising the social and solidarity economy in Latin America - José Luis Coraggio
8 Rebuilding solidarity-driven economies after neoliberalism: the role of cooperatives and local developmental states in Latin America - Milford Bateman
9 Enabling the social and solidarity economy through the co-construction of public policy - Marguerite Mendell and Béatrice Alain

PART II Collective action and solidarity in practice
10 Beyond alternative food networks: Italy's solidarity purchase groups and the United States' community economies - Cristina Grasseni, Francesca Forno and Silvana Signori
11 Social and solidarity investment in microfinance - Paul Nelson
12 Balancing growth and solidarity in community currency systems: the case of the Trueque in Argentina - Georgina M. Gómez
13 State and SSE partnerships in social policy and welfare regimes: the case of Uruguay - Cecilia Rossel
14 Extending social protection in health through SSE: possibilities and challenges in West Africa - Bénédicte Fonteneau
15 Enabling agricultural cooperatives in Uganda: the role of public policy and the state - Justine Nannyonjo
16 Embeddedness and the dynamics of growth: the case of the AMUL cooperative, India - Abhijit Ghosh
17 Taking solidarity seriously: analysing Kerala's Kudumbashree as a women's SSE experiment - Ananya Mukherjee-Reed (This chapter was translated into French for L’économie sociale et solidaire : levier de changement ?, published by CETRI)
18 Demonstrating the power of numbers: gender, solidarity and group dynamics in community forestry institutions - Bina Agarwal

Peter Utting is international coordinator of the Center for Social Economy (Centro para la Economía Social or CES), based in Nicaragua, and a senior research associate of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Until August 2014 he was the deputy director of UNRISD, where he coordinated international research projects on social and solidarity economy and corporate social responsibility. He was instrumental in establishing the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy in 2013. Recent publications include Business Regulation and Non-State Actors: Whose Standards? Whose Development? (co-edited with Darryl Reed and Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, 2012), The Global Crisis and Transformative Social Change (co-edited with Shahra Razavi and Rebecca Varghese Buchholz, 2012) and Corporate Social Responsibility and Regulatory Governance (co-edited with José Carlos Marques, 2010).


"This book is a major pioneering work which critically documents the role and potential, as well as the challenges, of the social and solidarity economy in a worldwide perspective. It also reflects the leadership of UNRISD and the persistent efforts of Peter Utting to place SSE in the debates within and around the United Nations system."
Jacques Defourny, Centre for Social Economy, HEC-University of Liege, Belgium

"The growing presence of the social and solidarity economy on all continents points to the real possibility of social, civic, ecological and technological changes that are conducive to more human-oriented growth models. This book demonstrates clearly how the social and solidarity economy can play its full role, without borders, as a friend of the Earth and of humankind."
Thierry Jeantet, president of the the Mont-Blanc Meetings and author of Des Croissances

"This book provides a progressive assessment of the history, theory, practice and potential of SSE over a wide geographical range. It is particularly good on scaling up to meet the challenges of competition and partnership with state, corporate and popular economies today."
Keith Hart, London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Pretoria

"The book edited by Peter Utting critically analyzes the vast and diverse area of social and solidarity economy, emphasizing its origins and challenges. Unlike other contributions, the book adopts a non-ideological approach, and reveals tensions and contradictions inherent to the processes of the growth and expansion of the social and solidarity economy. The book is essential reading for those interested in understanding the growing grassroots experiences of groups of citizens that promote a more inclusive and democratic economy. The book will be useful to a variety of readers including actors in the field of international cooperation, researchers, activists and policy makers.
It is therefore an extremely timely book that focuses on themes often overlooked by the most of the literature, particularly the role and limits of participation and collective mobilization in constructing a new model of development that is both equitable and sustainable for our planet."
Giulia Galera, Euricse, La Rivista Impresa Sociale, 2015 (translated from Italian).

To view the introductory chapter, please click here.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 20 Mar 2015
    Pub. Place: United Kingdom
    ISBN: 978-1-78360-344-2
    Type: Paperback
    From: Zed Books