Social and Solidarity Economy As a Real Utopian Design: A Comparative Perspective

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Joana Soares MARQUES , Sociology Department, University of São Paulo (USP), Sao Paulo, Brazil
Social and solidarity economy (SSE) presents a collective project for another way of organizing the production and the society, in which the economy is subordinated to its social function. Thus, the paper discusses SSE as a real utopian proposal (Wright 2010): its institutional design is desirable in terms of egalitarian emancipatory ideals, such as privileging the collective ownership and control of economic resources and integrating solidarity in the core of economic activities as a means to achieve common goals; it constitutes a viable, and to some extent achievable, alternative to capitalist arrangements, since it has been partially implemented and is active on the political agenda worldwide; it contributes to a pathway of social empowerment, as it involves collective actors taking control of the economy over the capital or the state. However, SSE is also a complex field pervaded by tensions and conflicts. If, on the one hand, it embodies a normative vision for overcoming the hegemony of the dominant system, on the other, some experiences have become complementary or even functional to the capitalist world. The paper results from ongoing PhD research and its purpose is to critically examine SSE, in light of an empirical comparative analysis based on one case from the North (Portugal) and one case from the South (Brazil).