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Multi-Stakeholder Co-operativism: The (Hidden) Origins of Communitarian Pluralism in the UK Social Enterprise Movement

Bull, Mike and Ridley-Duff, R (2016) Multi-Stakeholder Co-operativism: The (Hidden) Origins of Communitarian Pluralism in the UK Social Enterprise Movement. In: European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy International Conference (EAEPE 2016), 03 November 2016 - 05 November 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore a single case study of multi-stakeholder co-operativism to uncover the (hidden) origins of communitarian pluralism in the story of the social enterprise movement in the UK. Before interventions by the Webbs, members of the co-operative movement were open to multi-stakeholder cooperation. After their intervention, in the early 1900s, this tradition became dormant until the rise of social enterprise in the late 1970s. By studying the model rules of the FairShares Association we show how the emergence of social enterprise in the 1990s rekindled interest in multi-stakeholder co-operative ownership. This communitarian pluralist discourse reframed the co-operative ‘common bond’ in line with the spirit of ‘new co-operativism’ until it became marginalised again by the actions of New Labour in 2003 and the drive for a neo-liberalised social enterprise form.

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