Occupations and Social Economy: Between Political Engagement and Economic Activity

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Massimiliano RUZZEDDU, University Niccolo Cusano Rome, Italy
While in the last decades the occupation of abandoned buildings was a mere political action, related to capitalism fight, in the very recent years, new kinds of occupations have happened, with a major economic characterization.

The main idea is to use the occupation to gather local workers (both high and low-qualified), that were expelled from the labor market, set-up networks to match skill and competencies, carry out training activities and, where possible, start new business.

For example, occupied buildings have often become spaces for coworking, with exchange of ideas and information.

Within this framework, the main goal of this paper will be to assess how this social evolution is reshaping the attitude of radical groups toward Globalization: while, traditionally, those groups characterized for an attitude of strong closure from outer groups (see No-global, N.I.M.B.Y. movements), it is possible to hypothesize that the need for producing income for themselves and their communities, might be yielding a Social Economy open to a global scope.

With this aim, I will analyze a case study: Officine Zero. This is a group of workers, both craftsmen and high qualified professional that have occupied a train workshop located downtown in Rome. They are using this space both for producing craftsmanship to be sold worldwide, and as a coworking place, where to start ethical business.

This paper will focus both on the organizational issue that characterize Officine Zero, which are quite peculiar and reflect both their adaptation to the current economic, global scenario and their own vision of the world.