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Social economy, third sector and solidarity relations: A conceptual synthesis from history to present

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Frank Moulaert


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This paper attempts to provide a clear perspective on defining the social economy today. It addresses the question of the relevance of a unifying concept with its need to embrace the existing diversity of approaches and concepts. To this end, it surveys both historical and contemporary academic literature, as well as practice-rooted conceptualisations of the social economy. The first section outlines the analytical challenges to a reconstruction of the social economy concept. The second enhances the historical and space-bound diversity in theorising and institutionalising social economy practices. Section 3 focuses on contemporary reconceptualisations of the social economy in Francophone and Anglo-Saxon literature, while section 4 then suggests improvements to current 'social economy' concepts, by linking them to both the lessons of history and the views of social economy practitioners today. I © 2005 The Editors of Urban Studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moulaert F, Ailenei O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Studies

Year: 2005

Volume: 42

Issue: 11

Pages: 2037-2053

ISSN (print): 0042-0980

ISSN (electronic): 1360-063X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/00420980500279794


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