Mapping Solidarity in the Economy in the United States

Abstract - EN

This paper includes the results of five years of National Science Foundation-funded research on three different cities in the US, to contribute towards metropolitan-level methods of analyzing the social solidarity economy (SSE). An interdisciplinary collaborative research team for which I was principal investigator constructed a national US database of multiple SSE entities such as cooperatives, land trusts, credit unions, etc., and generated a more detailed spatial database in New York City, Philadelphia, and Worcester, MA. The database allowed us to see patterns and differences across central domains of the economy that are structured around solidarity. The research thus aims to contribute to the constitution of the SSE as a new object of research for the US context, since such collective identification is just emerging in the US, and to a better understanding of the challenges of economic solidarity in deeply divided societies. One primary research aim is to examine what new perspectives on the US emerge when diverse SSE initiatives are studied together rather than in isolation from one another. Methodologically, we drew on a combination of geospatial analytical, quantitative, and qualitative methods as well as map-based visualization to outline the economic and social landscapes of solidarity. We make a three-fold argument: 1. In aggregate, the SSE has a significant spatial footprint and economic impact in the US. 2. Racial and class divisions manifest differently across sectors of the SSE 3. SSE initiatives have the potential to overcome/transform divisions.

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