Social Economy? Solidarity Economy? Exploring the Implications of Conceptual Nuance for Acting in a Volatile World
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This paper suggests that the solidarity economy as a conceptual framework in progress may have significant theoretical and strategic implications for actors in the social economy. The distinct boundaries most social economy actors draw to set themselves apart from the private and public sectors shapes their perception of the terrain upon which action is viewed as either desirable or possible; the "third sector” is the primary locus of strategy and action. In contrast, the solidarity economy thrusts social economy actors into the spaces among and between the three economic sectors and inserts reciprocity as the dominant animating driver, creating a space for expanding solidarity. Case studies from Montreal and Chicago serve as lenses through which the implications of both conceptual frameworks are explored.