CFP: ‘Reimagining the cooperative: an interdisciplinary conversation’ (University of Cambridge)

By Maria Montt Strabucchi • news • 24 Nov 2017

Call for participation: ‘Reimagining the cooperative: an interdisciplinary conversation’

Please consider submitting a paper for the international workshop ‘Reimagining the cooperative: an interdisciplinary conversation’, held at the University of Cambridge on 20-21 June 2018.

We invite papers from across the social sciences and humanities (anthropology, history, geography, economics, political sciences, development studies) and from emerging and established scholars, to contribute to an interdisciplinary workshop aimed at re-theorizing contemporary and historic cooperative practice.

There has been considerable and sustained interested in cooperatives across the humanities and social sciences. Yet these approaches, which centre upon cooperatives’ status as economic organizations, political projects, and sites of meaning and value-making, remain largely siloed within specific disciplines. In anthropology, political science, and sociology, much of the debate has centred on whether cooperatives constitute a launch-pad for radical departures from prevailing social and economic conditions, or whether they instead reinforce the status quo. Other work, particularly in economics and development studies, has focused on more explicitly descriptive and applied ends: analysing the structure, efficiency, and successes/failures of particular cooperative projects, often in order to contribute to the advancement of cooperative entities overall.

What can we gain from bringing these strands of research together? Is it possible for us to move discussions of cooperatives beyond a consideration of structural politics and applied approaches, and what are the implications of this? What other (shared) avenues of analysis are open to us as cooperative scholars?

Participants are invited to consider the following:

•       Theoretical reconsiderations of the cooperative as social form and political potentiality
•       History and historiography of cooperatives, the cooperative movement, and cooperative ‘experiments’
•       The practice of cooperatives as ‘total social institutions’ and sites of meaning and value-making
•       Continuities and frictions between cooperatives, the state, development NGOs, and market actors
•       Micro-politics: governance, collective labour, and membership
•       Theoretical and analytical connections between cooperatives and other types of communal and collaborative working associations (labour unions, collectives, informal work groups, the sharing economy, mutual and co-owned business, and associations)

Please send a 300-word abstract and short CV to Corinna Howland, cfh39 [at] by 20 December 2017. Applicants will be notified if they have been accepted by 5 January 2018.

Successful applicants will then be asked to submit a 3000-word paper by April 20th, 2018 for circulation among the workshop participants. This, together with a fifteen-minute presentation, will form the basis of the workshop discussions.

Accommodation, lunches, and a workshop dinner will be provided for speakers.

Organisers: Corinna Howland (University of Cambridge) and Patrick O’Hare (University of Surrey)

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