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Rethinking Social Econonmy

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The world is undergoing rapid and extensive transformations. The recent financial crisis has rendered even more necessary than before the identification of innovative and effective tools in the struggle against poverty, underdevelopment and intolerable injustice. Tackling these challenges calls for the rethinking of the role of the State, the market and of all those organizations which fall into the realm of the social economy. Social Economy comprises a wide and highly dynamic range of different organizational entities with social and environmental purposes such as social enterprises, community development associations, microfinance institutions and fair trade organizations. These new and old institutional species which are neither in the public sector nor have the exclusive profit-maximizing objective that typifies the private sector have been demonstrating to be potentially effective and complementary tools for the solutions of social, economic and environmental problems, both in developed and underdeveloped regions. The CRASSH workshop on Social Economy aims to investigate and provide critical perspectives on this new hybrid pole for social welfare of the economy and highlight the various contradictions and trends emerging in recent years. In particular, the workshop will investigate three main issues: Relational Approaches for Social economy (is conventional economics sufficiently equipped for understanding the innovative practices developed by these institutional species?); Social Economy for Economic Development (in what ways has the social economy reshaped the development agenda at the international level?; are these institutions calling for the retreat of the State as the main provider of social welfare or, on the contrary, do they propose innovative and complementary strategies for solving social problems?); Social Entrepreneurship for Social Innovation (what hybrid organizational forms and models are social entrepreneurs developing to bring social value?) and finally all participants will address the role of social economy in broader society (in what way are the tendencies of mission drift transforming and having a negative impact on the social performances of social enterprises? What are the risks connected to a mainstreamization of the social economy?) The one day workshop will involve leading scholars, researchers and practitioners in the field of institutional economics, development economics and social entrepreneurship.

This talk is part of the Business and Society Research Group series.

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