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Social and Solidarity-based Economy and Territory

From Embeddedness to Co-construction


Edited By CIRIEC, Xabier Itçaina and Nadine Richez-Battesti

The articulation between the social and solidarity-based economy (SSE) and territory is not self-evident. For the contributions to this volume, the challenge was one of disentangling these interrelations by avoiding two pitfalls. The first, the idealist perspective, sees SSE as the magic answer to all neoliberalism-related ills. The demystifing perspective, by contrast, emphasizes the relentless routinization and isomorphism of SSE enterprises, which eventually end up resorting to market-oriented and/or public economy oriented models. Local case studies can extricate from this dilemma. Close observation of complex local configurations where public, private, associative and cooperative actors and issues are deeply entangled, enables to achieve a nuanced understanding of the territorial dynamics of the SSE. This book is the result of the International Ciriec working group on SSE and territory ( It emanates from an interdisciplinary dialogue conducted among researchers from nine countries and two continents, Europe and America. If contexts vary from one country to another, the contributions underline the capacity of SSE to elaborate original inputs to social, economic and sustainable local development. Based on original case studies, the contributions illustrate different strategies of SSE organisations in their respective territories. SSE provides an innovative answer to changes in socio-economic and political regulations, by promoting new forms of territorial cooperation. Despite the differences between the case studies, all the chapters of this book contribute towards a balanced approach to the territorial regimes of the SSE which interweaves socio-economic approaches to local and community development, analysis of SSE governance, social mobilizations and territorial policymaking.

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Chapter 2: Cooperative Banks and Territories. When Anchorage Improves Performance (Nadine Richez-Battesti / Béatrice Chauvin)


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Cooperative Banks and Territories

When Anchorage Improves Performance


University of Aix-Marseille, LEST-CNRS UMR 7317

The increasing financial globalization and the development of the prudential requirements on the European and international scale, the growing banking concentration movement and the evolution of cooperative banks obliged them to find a point of balance between offensive strategic positioning and searching performance and keeping up value and these “added values” or spiritual enrichment and these social values supposed to be only found in cooperative banks. These organizations have specific property rights corresponding to a system of democratic governance. The organization based on members rather than on shareholders and the collective property which is its consequence as well as the attribution processes of the results intentionally limited, thus the use of an economic democracy in the decision-making processes illustrates this system.

If in spite of these rules and under the influence of statutory requirements, some people stress the risks of deterioration of the large cooperative organizations, however original dynamics which tend to reaffirm a strong link of cooperative banks with their territory and with their members can be observed.

The central point of its article is about the links between cooperative banks and territory in France by considering territory a social construction. We have chosen to lay the stress on an experiment: the itinerant banker at the NEF, the most...

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