Finding Solidarity Across Diversity: An Examination of the Transnational Networks of the Solidarity Economy Movement
Bryn Mawr College. Department of International Studies
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The solidarity economy is an umbrella term that represents a wide range of solidarity-‐based economic practices that have proliferated worldwide such as cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and community land trusts. These enterprises prioritize equity, social and ecological sustainability, cooperation, democratic decision-‐making, and community-‐based development as opposed to profit maximization and competition. The solidarity economy movement depends on both local and global linkages, networks, and alliances to advance the solidarity economy development paradigm. In this thesis, I examine the structure and strategies of the major transnational networks of the solidarity economy movement. I find that these networks promote a horizontal reproduction of local, grassroots solidarity-‐based initiatives. Then, I examine the diffusion of ideas and models across the solidarity economy movement. I contend that most of the influential ideas, innovations, and inspirational movements in the solidarity economy over the past 30 years have origins in the Global South and eventually moved North through mediated diffusion. By orienting development around the economic initiatives of marginalized peoples in the Global South, the SSE offers a counterhegemonic development alternative to the dominant development paradigms that have largely been imposed on the South from the North.