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Solidarity's Tensions

Informality, Sociality, and the Greek Crisis

Theodoros Rakopoulos

During times of crisis, economic practices organized on principles of reciprocity often arise. Greece, with the vibrant sociality pertaining to its 'solidarity economy', is a case in point. This article is premised on the idea that crises make contradictions in societies more visible. I suggest that a central contradiction is at play in Greece between informal and formalized economic activity, as demonstrated in the tension between the fluid features of 'solidarity' networks and the formalization proposed or imposed on them by state institutions. In Thessaloniki, the informal solidarity economy proves to be more efficient than the work of NGOs. Arguing that such economic activities are built around the rise of new forms of sociality rather than a tendency toward bureaucratization, the article contributes to anthropological understandings of solidarity and welfare, as well as their relation.

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Food Activism in Italy as an Anthropology of Direct Democracy

Cristina Grasseni

This article presents qualitative and quantitative findings on provisioning activism in Italy, focusing on Solidarity Purchase Groups (Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale, GAS). By using quantitative data about GAS growth, numerical consistence and economic impact and through ethnographic insights based on prolonged fieldwork, it identifies the GAS movement as an ecological, economic and political counterculture. I discuss the implications for policy efforts at the regional and state level, highlighting both potentials and shortcomings of promoting GAS as means to sustainable development. In particular, I identify the issues of trust, informality and direct democracy as distinctive of GAS practice. However, this positions solidarity economy vis-à-vis policymaking in a potentially oppositional rather than interlocutory stance.

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Precarious Provisioning: Three Explorations of Food after Progress

Patrick McEvoy

discussion of GAS groups and solidarity economy on Michele Micheletti’s (2003) work on political consumerism, James Carrier and Peter Luetchford’s (2012) study of ethical consumption, and J. K. Gibson-Graham’s (2006) community economies, while

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Conditions for Social Entrepreneurship

A. H. J. (Bert) Helmsing

The concept of social entrepreneurship and enterprise has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Its appeal extends over a broad ideological spectrum, and it embraces a range of activities, from solidarity economy to changes within the capitalist market economy. However, the growing popularity of social enterprise has not gone unchallenged. Some see it as the privatization of social choices that belong in the public and civic domain. This article asks: How is the social constituted in social entrepreneurship? After reviewing why social entrepreneurship has become an issue and exploring its various definitions, it argues that a dominant current in the social entrepreneurship literature glorifies the individual entrepreneur while underemphasizing the importance of social processes. Social enterprise is dependent on the social entrepreneur’s civic engagement in mobilizing support. This engagement is critical for the economic, social, and political sustainability of the social enterprise. For social entrepreneurship to enjoy success in a sustained manner, it must first and foremost be “social.”

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The Fiscal Commons

Tax Evasion, the State, and Commoning in a Catalonian Cooperative

Vinzenz Bäumer Escobar

to my ethnographic findings, I explain the popularity of the solidarity economy and the place of the Cooperative within it. I then offer an ethnographic analysis of the Cooperative, paying attention to its alternative employment system and how this

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Food Movement between Autonomy and Coproduction of Public Policies

Lessons from Madrid

Marian Simon-Rojo, Inés Morales Bernardos, and Jon Sanz Landaluze

of consumers, distributors, vendors, consultants from the social solidarity economy (3) Civil society: NGOs (nonprofit organizations), associations, informal collectivities, individuals Figure 1 Model for the classification of actors and target groups

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Social housing and feminist commoning in urban Vietnam

Christina Schwenkel

leisure, livelihood, and social life to halt encroaching precarity and housing insecurity. They did so in defiance of calls for market-based solutions to urban poverty that threatened to eradicate the urban commons and its “solidarity economy” ( Harvey

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Social, Economic, and Structural Developments of the League of Education

Has Crisis Turned into a Particularly Effective Method of Governance?

Anne Lancien and Florence Ihaddadene

constant adaptation to the evolutions of the scope within which it exists. In 2014, when the law about social and solidarity economy was voted, in fact establishing competition between associations and “limited-profit” businesses, the League of Education

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The anthropology of austerity

An introduction

Theodore Powers and Theodoros Rakopoulos

austerity measures, be they solidarity economies, new migration patterns, or existential frustration. Indeed, most of the articles seem to be showing a rejection of neoliberal assault via austerity, a sort of postcrisis double movement. If subjectivation

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From Crisis to Resistance?

‘Exception’, Neo-liberalism, and Two Voices in the Left

Theodoros Rakopoulos

–2012 ubiquitous dissent and continue their resilient practice—are of an ‘economic’ nature, such as the ‘solidarity economy’ movement. The permeability of politics in this movement is indisputable, but economic resistance is not discussed in the book. Supplementing