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Cooperative conversion and communalization : closely observed interactions between the material and the mental

Abstract : Various authors, including Elinor Ostrom, have shown that the legal form of a cooperative has many of the characteristics of a Common. Here we focus on cooperative conversion, through which conventional enterprises become labor‐managed firms (LMFs), viewing it dynamically as a communalization process. These processes are addressed in the light of a field survey carried out in France, looking at six firms involved in cooperative conversion. The changes entailed are two‐dimensional, both material and mental. This is visible, for example, when finding the capital to mount an LMF: members of the workforce must draw on their own funds; they must also believe in the project. Through our empirical observations we highlight the obstacles in the way of forming an LMF. In particular participants must undertake a work of negotiation hinging on stakes marked by the two, largely inseparable dimensions. Ultimately we query the ethic brought into play in the collective action of constituting a Common. Specifically, individuals must contribute to a collective action underpinned by principles of self‐governance, or commoning, the rock on which the Common rests. A key finding of our study is to demonstrate that a Common can only be successfully created if the constituent processes are consistent with the overall goal. In other words the manner in which we travel is inseparable from our final destination; otherwise we shall surely lose our way.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02964687
Contributor : Catherine Ciesla <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 12, 2020 - 4:09:04 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 10:36:02 AM

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Hervé Charmettant, Yvan Renou. Cooperative conversion and communalization : closely observed interactions between the material and the mental. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley, 2020, 22 p. ⟨10.1111/apce.12285⟩. ⟨halshs-02964687⟩

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