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Social empowerment as a way to transform the economy – A reconsideration of Jean-Louis Laville’s research on Social and Solidarity Economy

Mémoire for The CNAM - Jean-Louis Laville

Max Rademacher, September 2011

To download : PDF (360 KiB)

Summary :

« Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE)", or « Economie Sociale et Solidaire (ESS) » is a French term used to describe new ways of organizing the economy. In France, the concept attracts widespread hopes for an alternative, post-capitalist economy, where humans and not profits would be the ultimate goal of economic activiy. Not only the idea of SSE as such is steadily gaining influence, but France’s economy is changing on the very practical level, as more and more economic actors put SSE ideas into practice and start to restructure the economic field, especially at the local level.

This paper by EYES’ member Max Rademacher is a critical analysis of the French SSE concept. Starting from the observation that French actor discourse is highly ambiguous as to the question whether SSE is a true alternative to capitalism, it assesses to what extent these ambiguities can be traced back to the very theoretical design of SSE. The paper then tries to examine to what extent Erik Olin Wright’s theory of social empowerment can be used to improve the French SSE theory as a theory of economic transformation.

This paper has been in written in September 2011 within the study course « Approche de la relation de service » at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (Cnam) of Paris.

Sources :

Web site of EYES Empowering Youth in a European Society ttp://eyes.solidairesdumonde.org/tag/solidarity economy