Social Policy and the Social and Solidarity Economy

Abstract - EN

Discourse on the relationship between social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social policy has a long pedigree. Social policy, understood as a means to correct the dysfunctions of the capitalist economy, has an elective affinity with SSE, which subordinates the economy to the social, often expressed as “economy embedded in social relations”. Welfare pluralism often frames the discourse on this relationship in which voluntary and self-managed initiatives play a significant role in shaping social policy or a welfare state. However, if understood as a means to secure the long term circumstances of the continued accumulation of capital SSE (Pierson 1998), social policy or a welfare state may not have much common ground with SSE as a means of transformation of economy and society. The interaction of SSE organizations and enterprises (SSEOEs) with social policy also reflects these normative tensions. This entry explains social policy discourse and practices in both developed and developing countries concerning the evolution of SSE and the opportunities and challenges of SSE strengthening a welfare state or vice versa.