Community-Based Solidarity Economy and Eco-Social Transformation
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Even if some European and national labor market or social policy programs focused on fostering local economy, the social imperative of social and solidarity economy did not enter the political or academic mainstream. In light of the consequences of neo-liberal globalization, socio-political considerations need to pay much more attention than before to the local living space as a place of active participation and integration, of collective self-organization and sustainable development. Shaping sustainable development raises questions about the logic behind socially integrated economic activity geared to maintaining the capacity for social, cultural, ecological and economic evolution. The ecological imperative of community economy seems to have a stronger effect to eco-social transformation. The strong re-discovery of community-based action research – after three decades of marginalization – is on one side resulting from the challenges of eco-social transformation, and on the other side it is another indicator for the growing weight of civil society as steering power in society, in this case in the scientific realm. It is obvious that eco-social transformation has to be based in processes of cooperative learning and participatory social change.