Project B2-2007 Sustainability and the Social Economy
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This project will examine the theoretical and practical implications of socio-ecological questions for the social economy or solidarity economy. The initial proposal is three parallel avenues of research: 1) a critical review or ‘reading against the grain’ of the existing SE literature for evidence of reflection on the sustainability question, and analysis of the practical challenges and possibilities of converting the SE economy to sustainability principles (Some of this will arise in the SERC 2 Literature Review but we will want to extend that review to other countries such as Sweden, and across the topics in other SERC areas (such as human services and policy); 2) an initial exploration of the emerging bioeconomy and its relationship to the social economy in BC and Alberta and more broadly. For example, in SERC 2 we anticipate new theory emerging from our examination of the linkages and synergies between the social economy, resource management and rural revitalization in BC and Alberta. These relationships are relatively new and, as such, are under-theorized. This may become a cross-SERC topic, but a logical start on this lies with SERC 2, as many of the research members have experience in this area; and 3) a critical review and reflection on the implications of sustainability for measurement and indicators of wellbeing in the SE sector (this in conjunction with work being done by Mark Anielski of SERC 3, and discussions with the national SE mapping group about the environment). Many SERC2 members have strengths in sustainability indicators and that debate needs to be integrated with the ways people are measuring and conceiving indicators of the social economy’s impacts.