Learning alterity in the social economy: the case of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network in Ontario, Canada
Jennifer Sumner: University of Toronto, Canada Cassie Wever: University of Guelph, Canada
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While the origins of the social economy date long before the period of industrialization or the modern state (Shragge & Fontan, 2000), it is growing in importance as we find ourselves in ‘the cancer stage of capitalism’ (McMurtry, 2013). Facing issues such as exponentially growing inequality, the demise of rural communities, an exploding obesity epidemic and jobless recoveries from repeated financial crises, more and more people are turning to the social economy for solutions to their problems (see McMurtry 2010; Mook et al. 2010). This paper reports on a pilot study that focused on the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network, created by people who oppose the industrial food system and want to specialize in local, organic food. Adopting a political-economy lens to understand this opposition through the words of participants, the study employed semi-structured interviews to explore the learning dimensions of this social economy organization. The study found that respondents participated in social learning and learned alterity in the social economy. The paper concludes that social economy organizations need to prioritize social over economic values, and the potential for change associated with social learning is key to making this choice.

Keywords: Alterity; co-operatives, learning; social economy; social learning

Volume 8, Issue: 2, Article 3, 2017

Jennifer Sumner, Cassie Wever
Learning alterity in the social economy: the case of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network in Ontario, Canada:

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Volume 8, Issue: 2, Article 3, 2017

Jennifer Sumner, Cassie Wever
Learning alterity in the social economy: the case of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network in Ontario, Canada:
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