Solidarity, Antagonistic Economies and Social Enterprises: Spaces for New Initiatives

This seminar brings together two cutting edge thinkers on the link between sustainability transformation and alternative forms of economic organisation, Prof Peter North and Prof Maria Daskalaki. Jointly hosted with the Alternative Organisations and Transformative Practices Research Cluster, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of social enterprise, the social and solidarity economy, and how Polanyi’s three fictitious factors of capital can help us to better understand what North calls the ‘antagonistic economy’, set out to challenging (particularly Anglo-Saxon) neoliberalism’s malignant effects on people and planet.

In a second part, we’ll be reflecting in particular on solidarity economy initiatives that emerged in response to the Global Financial crisis of 2008—as instances of community organising and sites for the co-production of ideas, knowledge, practices and resources. The aim is to explore their capacity to constitute practices with transformative potential for ethical and sustainable organising. Learning from examples in post-crisis Greece, we are looking at the processes and outcomes of transformative responses, enquiring: How do alternative organisational forms of enterprise challenge dominant discourses of economic growth, consumerism and neoliberalism—understood to be at the core of an unsustainable society? How can we co-produce collective practices and collective values for the provision of the basic needs of everyday life? Do such values lead to ethical forms of organising and if so, are they sustainable?

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