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Grassroots mobilization, co-production of public policy and the promotion of participatory democracy by the Brazilian Solidarity Economy movement

Thesis submitted for a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology at Brown University

Ana Margarida Esteves, May 2011

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Summary :

On the one hand,I aim to contribute to the scholarly debate on associational and participatory politics by analyzing a social movement that has been developing strategies and institutional forms that are unique and understudied. This movement combines the institutional support to worker‐owned production units with the setting up of participatory public spaces – the Solidarity Economy forums – aimed at promoting collaboration between production units and civil society organizations, as well as the co‐production and implementation, in partnership with the state, of public policies for the sector. On the other hand, I also aim to bring insights that might contribute to the institutional strengthening not only of the Solidarity Economy movement in Brazil, but also of other experiences around the world that take it as a reference. Among them is “Grupo Red de Economía Solidaria del Peru” (GRESP), “Red Chilena de Economía Solidaria” (RCES) and “Red de Redes de Economia Alternativa y Solidária” (REAS) in Spain.