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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 12: Territorial Legitimacy of Large Social Economy Enterprises. Analysis of a Speech by the President of a Cooperative Group (Alexandrine Lapoutte / Martine Vézina / Marie-Claire Malo)


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Territorial Legitimacy of Large Social Economy Enterprises

Analysis of a Speech by the President of a Cooperative Group

Alexandrine LAPOUTTE

Université Lumière Lyon 2

Martine VÉZINA & Marie-Claire MALO

HEC Montréal


This study begins with the 2014 Declaration of the participants of the International summit of cooperatives. In this text, the “local strength” and “overall power” of cooperatives are emphasized. They reaffirm the “strength of the cooperative model” and call for the “growth and sustainability of cooperative businesses,” as we need more influential cooperatives that “innovate, grow stronger, and increase their numbers to better meet the needs of individuals and society.” The Declaration concludes by stating that, “as builders of local economies and drivers of a more stable, inclusive and human global economy, they are making an indisputable contribution to lasting prosperity.” Such a declaration implies that territorial rooting and overall development constitute two facets of a single reality for social economy enterprises, and particularly for cooperatives. The necessity for growth is no longer only linked to ← 327 | 328 → constraints induced by the globalization of the economy but constitutes the very heart of the cooperative to spread this human entrepreneurial model. These two territorialities are not exclusive to SE enterprises, however. In fact, all enterprises look to benefit from economies of scale and proximity. Strategic clusters are a convincing illustration. What distinguishes SE enterprises...

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