POLS 365: Solidarity Economy Movements (Professor Craig Borowiak)
During this intensive research seminar we will critically examine the politics, theory, and social networks related to solidarity economy movements. The term “solidarity economy” refers to a wide set of initiatives around the world that seek alternatives to mainstream capitalism by organizing economic activity around principles of social solidarity, cooperation, and community-based development. Examples include the fair trade movement, eco-villages, consumer and producer cooperatives, and participatory budgeting, among other related initiatives. Some of these initiatives are conceived as radical alternatives to mainstream capitalism. Others are seen to offer niches of alternative economic practices within a larger capitalist framework. Over the past several years several national, regional, and global networks have been formed around the idea of social and solidarity economy. In this course we will be analyzing the coherence (or incoherence) of these networks and movements. We will situate them in historical context by comparing and contrasting them with earlier movements from the 19th and 20th centuries. We will develop theoretical frameworks for comprehending their significance. And we will use network analysis to analyze the character and extent of these networks. This seminar will involve collaborative research as we generate a database and papers on the state of solidarity economies.