Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development
Prometheus, Trojan Horse or Frankenstein? The Social and Solidarity Economy as Community Creation, Market Wedge, or State Monster (Draft)
Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is a contested term and, depending on one’s geographic and ideological location, it carries with it various associations. The general understanding of “neither public, nor private” gives the appearance of unity, when in reality pressures from both the private and public spheres challenge the very essence of SSE. Specifically, pressures for control and accountability from local communities, “measurable cost-effective results” from government, and “market results” from the private sphere all pull and push the SSE in different directions, definitionally and in practice, creating general confusion around its exact meaning for the public at large. This in turn has opened up discursive space for manipulation of the SSE concept. and increasingly worrying developments are being seen from the “big society” to “social enterprise” solutions to all social issues. This paper engages in this debate both theoretically and practically.
John-Justin McMurtry is Graduate Program Director of the Social and Political Thought Program at York University, (Toronto). His research focuses on linking contemporary social, political and economic theory with the practice of cooperatives and the social economy. He has been active in various social economy organizations for over two decades.