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Campaigning for cooperatives as resistance to neoliberal capitalism
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013). (Centrum för forskning om regionalt samhällsbyggande)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7641-2744
2017 (English)In: Journal of Political Power, ISSN 2158-379X, E-ISSN 2158-3803, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 236-254Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the eventual performance of critical resistance to neoliberal capitalism in the discourse of a marketing campaign that promotes the organisational form of cooperatives. Through discourse analysis, this article shows that the performed resistance activity in the campaign discourse is non-critical resistance since the dominant discourse of neoliberal capitalism is reproduced. The analysis displays that affective and economic articulations are intertwined in resistance through the discursive promotion of cooperation. The article contributes to understandings of cooperation as potential resistance to neoliberal capitalism, and highlights the risk of resistance simultaneously reproducing the power of dominant discourses. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. Vol. 10, no 2, p. 236-254
Keywords [en]
cooperatives; critical resistance; affect; neoliberal capitalism; discourse
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-62562DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2017.1335837ISI: 000423969100008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85020626855OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-62562DiVA, id: diva2:1128919
Note

Fulltexten är den inskickade versionen, vilket innebär att den ej genomgått peer-review.

Available from: 2017-07-31 Created: 2017-07-31 Last updated: 2021-04-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Organizing for Social Change: Worker Cooperatives as Resistance to Capitalism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Organizing for Social Change: Worker Cooperatives as Resistance to Capitalism
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When people around the globe are increasingly confronted with the challenges of rising economic inequalities and declining democratization, often associated with the spread of globalized capitalism, it becomes difficult to defend a position of business as usual. Worker co-ops are economic associations equally owned and democratically governed by workers with the potential to contribute to economic democracy and social change. This dissertation explores how worker cooperatives, primarily in Sweden, are constructed and organized by co-operators in ways that can resist capitalism, while at the same time having to relate to capitalism as the context in which they operate. The analyzed empirical material includes an international marketing campaign promoting co-ops; qualitative material, mainly interviews, from five Swedish worker co-ops; and second-hand material on timebanks, network-based exchange services. 

Overall, the results show that co-operators construct worker co-ops as better for individuals and societies than capitalist-oriented organizing, which is associated with economic ideals for profit and growth and hierarchical control. In contrast, the worker co-ops organize themselves as a form of constructive resistance to capitalism by enacting social ideals such as freedom to self-govern, equal work relations through friendship and the valuing of work time, perceived to benefit society without generating profit. The co-ops’ very existence demonstrates and spreads awareness that this alternative form of organizing is viable in the here and now. However, the analysis also shows that co-ops’ resistance within capitalist market economic contexts involves risks of the reproduction of power and the compromise of ideals in order to survive. Thereby, this dissertation contributes to knowledge on the possibilities and pitfalls of organizing for social change within contexts dominated by the very power resistance is directed against.

Abstract [en]

When people around the globe are increasingly confronted with the challenges of rising economic inequalities and declining democratization, often associated with the spread of globalized capitalism, it becomes difficult to defend a position of business as usual. Worker co-ops are economic associations equally owned and democratically governed by workers with the potential to contribute to economic democracy and social change. This dissertation explores how worker cooperatives, primarily in Sweden, are constructed and organized by co-operators in ways that can resist capitalism, while at the same time having to relate to capitalism as the context in which they operate. The qualitative study shows that worker co-ops challenge capitalism, associated with economic ideals and hierarchical control, by instead enacting social ideals such as equal work relations through friendships, uncommodified work time and freedom to self-govern. The worker co-ops’ very existence demonstrates that such organizing is viable in the here and now. However, this dissertation also shows how worker co-ops risk the reproduction of power and compromise of ideals in order to survive within capitalist market economic contexts, thus highlighting both the possibilities and pitfalls of organizing for social change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2021. p. 212
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2021:11
Keywords
Worker cooperatives, Capitalism, Resistance, Constructive resistance, Power, Social change, Organizing, Timebanks, Work relations, Temporality, Knowledge, Discourse
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-83572 (URN)978-91-7867-196-0 (ISBN)978-91-7867-206-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-06-04, Zoom, Via Zoom, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-05-12 Created: 2021-04-01 Last updated: 2021-09-22Bibliographically approved

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fulltext(468 kB)476 downloads
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Wiksell, Kristin

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