SOCIAL ECONOMY? SOLIDARITY ECONOMY? Exploring the Implications of Conceptual Nuance for Acting in a Volatile World
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The solidarity economy as a conceptual framework in progress may have significant theoretical and strategic implications for actors in the social economy. The distinct boundaries most social economy actors draw to set themselves apart from the private and public sectors shapes their perception of the terrain upon which action is viewed as either desirable or possible; the « third » sector is the primary locus of strategy and action. In contrast, the solidarity economy thrusts social economy actors into the spaces among and between the three economic sectors, inserting reciprocity as the dominant animating driver, creating a space for expanding solidarity. Case studies from Montreal and Chicago serve as lenses through which the strategic and practical implications of both conceptual frameworks are explored. The cases accentuate the importance of re-thinking how social economy actors conceptualize their work, increasingly so, given such cross-cutting challenges as climate change and peak oil.