Sub-theme 11: Organising grassroots initiatives for building more resilient communities
Prof. Copenhagen Business School,Dpt. of Management, Politics and Philosophy Denmark
María José Zapata Campos
Associate Prof. University of Gothenburg, Dpt. of Management & Organisation Sweden
National University of Quilmes, Instituto de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (IESCT)Buenos Aires, Argentina
Call for papers
As we face the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the migration crisis, the rise of political extreme right and nationalism, and the climate change challenge, an increasing number of citizen initiatives are leading social innovation processes, developing economic alternatives and experimenting with novel organisational forms to address all these challenges in novel ways (Dees & Anderson, 2006; Gibson-Graham, 2006).
Suggesting alternative economic and social imaginaries, these new forms of organising collective action are increasingly seen as spaces for social, cultural and economic experimentation (Roelvink et al. 2015) aiming at making communities and economies more resilient and sustainable (Moulaert et al. 2010). In global South and North, networks of activists, community groups, cooperatives, social entrepreneurs and neighbours have been working bottom up to generate solutions for sustainable communities. These initiatives have flourished in sectors as diverse as culture and arts, employment and micro-loans (Barinaga 2014), water and sanitation (Gutberlet et al 2016), housing and habitats, food and agriculture, energy, mobility, manufacturing, health, education, repairing and sharing, and many other spheres.
Attesting to the variety of initiatives and the extent of what has already been identified as a movement (Drayton, 2002), is the amount of terms used to refer to such initiatives. Some terms are of a somewhat recent coinage, such as “social innovation”, “social entrepreneurship”, “grass-roots innovations”, “community economies”or “popular economy”; others have a longer history, such as “non-profit sector”, “local communities”, “social movements”, or “social economy”. The particular term chosen reflects the perspective laid when discussing these initiatives: Either a focus on broadening the notion of innovation (Moulaert et al., 2005), on identifying and describing a rich diversity of economic practices (Roelvink et al. 2015), or on eliciting the variety of entrepreneurial efforts (Steyaert and Katz, 2004). However, whatever the term one chooses to use or the focus one chooses to apply, collectively, these initiatives are pointing towards “a postcapitalist politics” (Gibson-Graham, 2006), the coming of age of “the citizen sector” (Drayton, 2002); indeed, an incipient force worth studying and systematising.
This has led to the introduction of a new language of social action, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship as well as an increased focus on the centrality of grassroots initiatives for the renewal of our societies and the resilience of our communities. This conference sub-theme invites contributions that look into the concepts, strategies, tools and practices used by grassroots initiatives in their efforts to build more sustainable and resilient communities. A list of topics particularly welcomed to this conference track include (but is not limited to):
Empirical studies of bottom-up efforts to build more sustainable and resilient communities. Among others, empirical descriptions can focus on the methods used by citizen-driven initiatives, the organizational process required, issues of co-participation, rationalities guiding the efforts, etc.
Theoretical elaborations on the role of citizen-driven initiatives, grassroots innovations, social movements and social entrepreneurship for the making of resilient communities and sustainable economies.
Discussion of the extent to which novel notions/concepts and practices contribute to imagine and work towards more resilient communities.
Citizen-driven initiatives, resilient communities and social, environmental and institutional change.
Methodological contributions that develop the role of the researcher in collaborative knowledge production.