Other Courses and Programs

University of Wisconsin, SOC 929: The Social Economy

Economic activities are organized in four primary ways in contemporary societies: through capitalist markets, by the state, within the family, and in the “social economy.” The social economy is the least familiar of these forms and has received the least systematic treatment by sociologists and economists. Indeed, the term itself is not yet standard in theoretical discussions of economic forms, and so a variety of other terms are sometimes used to tap into the same general empirical domain: the solidarity community, the community economy, the nonprofit sector, the third sector, the citizen’s economy, among others. Negatively defined, these are economic activities that are not oriented to maximizing profits and not organized by the state or the family. Positively they are economic activities oriented to meeting individual and collective needs and organized through various kinds of voluntary associations within communities.

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Arizona State University, JUS 487/591: Social Enterprises: Innovation, Justice, and Community Development

This unique, hybrid course introduces students to a variety of empirical and theoretical perspectives on social enterprise (SE), the social economy, and social innovation. Bringing together scholars representing a broad range of fields (political science, economics, sociology, justice studies, law, anthropology, and social welfare), the first portion of the course provides a survey of key issues connecting the development of the social economy to innovation, social justice and economic sustainability. Utilizing a comparative, transdisciplinary approach, the course aims to get students to reflect critically on the following questions: How do we conceptualize and distinguish between different types of SEs? What are the key historical, structural, contextual factors that have informed the development of SEs in the U.S. and Europe and how do they influence SEs capacity to promote and maintain social innovation in the 21st Century? What tensions and conflicts arise in efforts to reconcile self interest and solidarity, utopianism and materialism, community development and market capitalism?

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Arizona State University, SOS 494/594: Equity, Justice and Sustainability

Cities pose a particularly strong challenge for a society interested in sustainability. They are places of mixture, exchange, and innovation while also being places of concentrated energy and materials use, pollution, public health issues, social inequalities, violence and crime. To address these problems in a sustainable manner we need to understand the underlying forces propelling urban dynamics and using a sustainability framework, develop a program for action. Interestingly, the approach we take to understand urban dynamics will drive our understanding of particular urban issues and therefore shape our goals and recommendations for addressing those issues. In this course, we will focus on urban justice issues and employ sociological methods in studying them. These methods will illuminate justice issues in particular ways. We will find synergies with sustainable approaches in order to develop a course of action to address urban justice issues. Through the workshop, we hope students develop a deeper understanding of broad social development, inclusion and justice within the general framework of sustainable urban development.

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University of Toronto, JPG 1615: Planning the Social Economy

The social economy is a term often used analogously with the ‘third sector’. It is construed more broadly in this course as an economy rooted in the principles of social justice, democratic governance and local autonomy. The course examines the concept theoretically, with recourse to some canonical and more recent writings about the interface between ‘society’ and ‘economy’—e.g. by looking at foundational arguments for and against the idea of a self-regulating market and exploring recent literature advocating as well as critiquing the principle of social economy. Analytical principles of the social economy will be explored drawing on Marxist, feminist, post-structuralist and mainstream liberal perspectives. These are then brought to bear on international experience in key sites of the social economy, namely, business and enterprise, money and finance, work, and food. The course concludes with a discussion of the conditions of possibility for “planning the social economy.”

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