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Redefining education for a social solidarity urban economy: becoming relational

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Deborah RallsORCiD


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Across the globe, there is increasing evidence that cities are looking for new ways of addressing issues of inequality and urban poverty. An emergent area of interest is the growth in popularity of the social and solidarity urban economy (EESC, 2017; UNRISD, 2016; Vickers et al, 2017), which, rather than following individualistic, market driven approaches serving private concerns, represents the belief that a change in relationships based on solidarity and co-operation is a fundamental component in developing sustainable and inclusive economic activities and policies in our cities. So far, however, there has been little focus on how education interventions could build stronger relationships with urban communities and help to lay the foundations for more inclusive social solidarity economies. This presentation will report on the review of the literature and the establishment of case studies during year one of the three year international research project, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The aim of the research is to examine the comparative way in which education institutions in four different cities around the world engage with their locality through various relational mechanisms and infrastructures (such as governance, curriculum and pedagogy). The cities (Barcelona, Berlin, New York and Rio de Janiero) have been identified based on evidence of their attempts to develop, in different ways, an enabling and supportive urban context of cross-sector partnerships and collaboration that can help to build a successful social solidarity economy (Vickers et al, 2017; Solidarity NYC, 2013). Barcelona, for example, has developed a city ‘impetus plan for a social solidarity economy’ (SSE). At its heart is the recognition that our understanding of the socioeconomic functioning of society, and the active role that we can play in it, is shaped from childhood (Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2016). The plan thus supports a programme of continuing professional development for educators across the city and changes to the curriculum, from primary school through to universities, with the aim to embed SSE values and practices in education institutions and generate “critical and active citizens” (Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2016, p.26). The research addresses gaps in the literatures of social solidarity economics by illuminating the extent to which a place and its communities can become more relational through education policies and practices. The research is timely, tying in with current calls for education “to focus on learning environments and on new approaches to learning for greater justice, social equity and global solidarity” (UNESCO, 2015, p. 3), so as to empower young people to help build flourishing, sustainable and inclusive communities that foster notions of social justice and solidarity (IEA, 2017; OECD, 2018).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ralls D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 7th CIRIEC International Research Conference on Social Economy

Year of Conference: 2019

Pages: 234-234

Acceptance date: 22/02/2019

Publisher: Tritonic Publishing House


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Social and Solidarity Economy: Moving Towards a New Economic System

ISBN: 9786067494242