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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 3: The Social Economy in Borderscapes. The Changing Cross-Border Dynamics of the Social Economy in the Basque Country (Xabier Itçaina / Marc Errotabehere)


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The Social Economy in Borderscapes

The Changing Cross-Border Dynamics of the Social Economy in the Basque Country


Centre Émile Durkheim, CNRS, Sciences Po Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux


CREG-Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour


The use of sub-national regions and smaller areas is a useful starting point, and a variation to the customary methodology, for improving our understanding of the dynamics of Europeanization: how territories adapt to the new regulations, trends in public policy, beliefs and norms that are initially determined at the European level (Radaelli, 2003: 30). This sub-state perspective is indispensable to an analysis of the dynamics of cross-border and transnational cooperation, which is one of the most tangible effects of European integration. Although a large number of studies have addressed these relationships from the perspective of inter-institutional relations, only a few (Sanchez-Salgado, 2007) have focused on the role of civil society and the social and solidarity economy (SSE) in configuring and operating these schemes.1 This viewpoint is even more indispensable in cross-border regions that are characterized by a cultural identity that transcends state frontiers. This cultural variable ← 73 | 74 → complicates the nature of cross-border relations and the uses made of EU policy instruments, which consequently cannot be restricted to technical and depoliticized procedures (Malloy, 2010; O’Dowd, McCall, 2008). In this regard the Basque border region, located in both...

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