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Researching the Social Economy

Researching the Social Economy

Laurie Mook
Jack Quarter
Sherida Ryan
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 320
  • Book Info
    Researching the Social Economy
    Book Description:

    Researching the Social Economyenriches our understanding of how this important cluster of organizations contributes to Canadian society in both economic and social terms, and lays the groundwork for future study.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6028-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Laurie Mook, Jack Quarter and Sherida Ryan
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 What’s in a Name?
    (pp. 3-24)

    This introductory chapter has three primary purposes: (a) to discuss differing conceptions of the social economy; (b) to consider the social economy’s component organizations (nonprofit and co-operative) and component practices (community economic development); (c) to present a social economy framework that serves to integrate the collection of research papers in this book.

    There are varying definitions of the social economy. To a certain extent, social economy has been used as a renaming of the more traditional ‘third sector,’ but social economy is more descriptive in that it puts up front that organizations set up for a social purpose can generate...

  6. 2 A Portrait of the Ontario Social Economy
    (pp. 25-62)

    Ontarians benefit from the contributions of a wide array of organizations that have, at their core, a social mission. Until recently, research and knowledge of the contributions of these organizations has been divided into separate streams, with one devoted to studying nonprofit organizations and another focusing on the contributions of co-operatives. Recent interest in the concept of the social economy has provided an opportunity to combine our understandings of these two types of organizations with social or nonprofit-maximizing missions. In this chapter, we present the first unified portrait of Ontario’s social economy, outlining its size and scope as well as...

  7. 3 The Social Economy in Quebec: Towards a New Political Economy
    (pp. 63-83)

    Although the vocabulary is new, the social economy has been well established in Quebec for more than a century. Its development has been an integral part of Quebec’s social and economic history (D’Amours, 2007; Laville, J.-L., Lévesque, B., & Mendell, M., 2007; Lévesque, 2001; Lévesque & Mendell, 1999; Mendell, 2002; Mendell, 2008; Neamtan, 2005). The co-operative movement has a long and established presence and has contributed to the well-being and economic growth of Quebec. Numerous associations and nonprofi t organizations have played a vital role in meeting socio-economic needs over the years. In Quebec, these collective enterprises, whatever their juridical...

  8. 4 The Social Economy in Europe: Trends and Challenges
    (pp. 84-105)

    This paper gives an overview of the social economy in Europe. Drawing on the most recent statistical data the paper examines the social economy’s size in different European countries and current trends and challenges in Europe; it also reviews its status and political context at the EU level. The paper draws on the CIRIEC (2007) study of the Social Economy in the European Union and the contribution on social enterprise draws on the work of the EMES Network.

    The social economy includes a wide range of types of organizations – from those formed in the 19th century to relatively new organizations;...

  9. 5 A Comparative Analysis of Voluntary Sector/Government Relations in Canada and England
    (pp. 106-130)

    This chapter compares voluntary sector/federal government relations in Canada with voluntary sector/central government relations in England between the years 1994 and 2008. While similar policy developments took place in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, there are important differences such as the existence of distinct representative organizations, which are beyond the scope of this study to address, and thus this analysis focuses on England. The voluntary sector, using the framework introduced in chapter 1 by Mook, Quarter, and Ryan, includes public sector nonprofits and civil society organizations. It was during the time period of this study, 1994 to 2008, that long-standing...

  10. 6 Capturing Complexity: The Ontario Government Relationship with the Social Economy Sector
    (pp. 131-153)

    Too often, the relationship between the state and the social economy is characterized as antagonistic or harmonious, complementary or competitive, conflictual or co-operative, depending on the type of policy or agency involved. While these attributes might feature in a relationship, they are not helpful in understanding what type of relationship between the state and sector is most beneficial, effective, or efficient under what circumstances. As the earlier work of Gidron, Kramer, and Salamon (1992) and Coston (1998) demonstrated, an understanding of power relations, linkages, and history between the state and social economy sector is critical for determining how to restructure...

  11. 7 Notes in the Margins: The Social Economy in Economics and Business Textbooks
    (pp. 154-175)

    In this chapter, we argue that there is a gap between the presence of the social economy in Canada and throughout the world and its coverage in business and economics textbooks used in high schools and universities. Our interest in this topic was ignited by a study undertaken in 1995 that analysed the representation of the social economy in high school business and economics textbooks used in the province of Ontario (Davidson, Quarter, & Richmond, 1996). After examining over 30 textbooks, the study found a bias against the social economy. A decade later, we conducted a follow-up study to explore...

  12. 8 Mandatory High School Community Service in Ontario: Assessing and Improving Its Impact
    (pp. 176-200)

    The growing recognition that there is a social economy highlights the increasing role of the voluntary and not-for-profit sector in what was once largely the domain of the public and private spheres. As governments have come to appreciate the contribution of this sector to the health of the community, they have also been made aware of the importance of civic engagement among young people – the very people who in coming decades will be responsible for sustaining the social economy.

    One approach seized upon by many jurisdictions in North America to encourage youth volunteerism has been to introduce mandatory high school...

  13. 9 Strategic Partnerships: Community Climate Change Partners and Resilience to Funding Cuts
    (pp. 201-222)

    Nonprofit environmental service organizations create and deliver services designed to improve environmental performance and to mitigate climate change through increased water efficiency, better waste management, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These green community organizations embody the four criteria that capture the ‘social’ dimension of the social economy identified in chapter 1: they are motivated by the social and environmental objectives in their mission statements (Green Community Canada, 2008); they utilize volunteer labour; they initiate and facilitate civic engagement; and their structure represents a form of social ownership (e.g., nonprofit). Like many social economy organizations, environmental service organizations face unstable funding...

  14. 10 The Online Social Economy: Canadian Nonprofits and the Internet
    (pp. 223-244)

    This chapter describes a study undertaken to identify Canadian nonprofit organizations that meet a broad definition of the social economy, as outlined in the first chapter of this book, and that rely on the Internet to meet their primary organizational objectives. Although face-to-face nonprofit enterprises are beginning to turn to the Internet to enhance their outreach and public profile, organizations that rely on information technology for their work are rarely included in any mapping of the social economy sector. The purpose of this exploratory research was to find and shed light on these online organizations in order to begin to...

  15. 11 Corporate Participation in the Social Economy: Employer-Supported Volunteering Programs in Canada’s Financial Institutions
    (pp. 245-266)

    The term ‘social economy’ has been used for years to describe a segment of the economy that is neither driven by the profit motives of private interests nor owned by the state to serve public interests. However, definitions of the term defy clear boundaries, at times excluding certain types of organizations and at others including them (Moulaert & Ailenei, 2005). In Quebec, for example, as described in chapter 3 (p. 00), social economy goes beyond a mere description of organizations and refers to ‘an alternative model of economic development’ governed by democratic processes and contributing to the democratization of society...

  16. 12 Work Stoppages in Canadian Social Economy Organizations
    (pp. 267-288)

    This study examines the causes, impacts, and dimensions of work stoppages resulting from strikes and lockouts in social economy organizations (SEOs) in Ontario between 1994 and 2005. It provides insight into the state of labour relations and, to some extent, human resource management in the sector. I suggest that due to the underlying social values of these organizations (Quarter, 1992; Quarter, Mook, & Richmond, 2003) and the type of workers they tend to attract (Brown & Yoshioka, 2003; McMullen & Schellenberg, 2003), these stoppages may be consistent with the collective voice explanation of strikes and explain strike proneness in subsectors...

  17. 13 Organic Farmers and the Social Economy: Positive Synergies for Community Development
    (pp. 289-311)

    Since its inception, organic agriculture has always been part of the social economy. Its reasons for emergence, philosophical basis, and expressions in practice have easily aligned with the vision of transformation associated with the social economy. Like other forms of the social economy, its social values stand alongside and indeed precede its economic import (Quarter, 1992). But, unlike many other forms of the social economy, its environmental values mesh with both its social and economic commitments.

    When conceptualizing the social economy, Lévesque and Mendell (2004) divide it into four quadrants: response to urgent social needs, response to new opportunities, social...

  18. 14 On the Challenges of Inclusion and the Co-operative Movement for Francophone Immigrants in Ontario
    (pp. 312-329)

    Francophones in Ontario have a strong interest in maintaining their socio-political and economic status as a means to preserve their cultural identity and their hard-won French-language services that are guaranteed federally and provincially. The successful inclusion of visible minority francophone immigrants within francophone minority communities in Ontario not only helps to sustain the size of the communities but also provides a diverse base to support francophone identity and ongoing advocacy for language rights. Within the context of an increasingly diversified francophone community, the Franco-Ontarian co-operative movement presents one promising model moving towards building a more inclusive community through the elaboration...

  19. 15 Conclusion
    (pp. 330-335)

    As indicated in the first four chapters of this book, there are differing perspectives on the social economy. The perspective articulated in the introductory chapter and utilized in chapter 2 by David M. Lasby, Michael Hall, R. Mark Ventry, and Denyse Guy on Ontario’s social economy takes a broad perspective and includes all organizations with a social mission that generate some economic value. In contrast, chapter 3 about Quebec by Marguerite Mendell and Nancy Neamtan articulates the view that the social economy is a movement with a transformative vision. As such, the criteria that are utilized in Quebec by the...