Solidarity economies in the age of Brexit and Trump


More than twenty years after the World Trade Organization was created, there is deep scepticism about the promises of global trade agreements. Protest and disillusionment against such agreements originate in a denial of the desire that economy obey democracy, not vice-versa. The same desire gives origin to the search for concrete alternatives that might bring us beyond protest and disillusionment. For some, one of these alternatives is represented by solidarity economies. From an anthropological perspective, it is useful to define 'solidarity economy' both as an object and a form of inquiry. The reason for this is twofold. On the one hand, we are dealing with empirical phenomena whose actors explicitly choose to identify through the term. On the other, the term can be traced back to a theoretical approach that sees economy as comprising all the 'substantive' values and practices through which human societies organize themselves to provide for their material and social reproduction, instead of only formal rationality and price-making markets. This brief essay discusses both dimensions. The essay is not intended as a full research article, but as a contribution to public debate through the 'light' application of anthropological concepts to current trends, in the vein of publications such as Anthropology Today.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22804250v6i2p165

Keywords: globalisation; social movements; capitalism; embeddedness; Europe

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