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Solidarity, Grassroots Initiatives and Power Relations

Irene Sotiropoulou

Abstract

Although solidarity is not a recent phenomenon, the emergence of new or re-invented forms of production and sharing that are based on that principle, has raised again several burning questions of what solidarity is and how far it can go, particularly under circumstances that may prove devastating for individuals, households and communities. The present paper is a result of both theoretical and empirical research regarding several types of grassroots initiatives which have functioned in Greece during the last six years. It investigates solidarity-related economic structures in order to clarify related questions, shows the complexity of practiced solidarity, identifies the main lines where solidarity might collide with power at the expense of the disadvantaged, and explores possible means of preventing power from invading those structures and thereby interfering with the survival of people and their communities.

Published on 2 Feb 2016 in World Economic Review No 6, February 2016 – Europe in Crisis