The social economy (SE) is alternatively conceptualized as a third sector (between the private and public sector); or by a typology of the organizations involved (such as cooperatives, non-profit organizations and social enterprises); or by the principles and values driving such activities (such as cooperation, mutual benefit, and democracy). One important consideration is often overlooked, namely that the SE emerges in different forms and with varied emphases depending on location. The SE is ‘place-based’—rooted in specific geographic, historical, cultural, and socioeconomic settings. This article explores the conceptualization of the SE in the Bolivian context from the perspective of government and civil society actors. The research took place after the country recognized the importance of the social, cooperative and community economy in their new constitution and found that the understanding of the SE in Bolivia relates strongly to the country’s indigenous and colonial heritage.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Amin, A. (Ed.). (2009). The social economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. London: Zed Books.
Angulo, N. (2008). Building the solidarity economy in Peru. In J. Allard, C. Davidson, & J. Matthaei (Eds.), Solidarity economy: Building alternatives for people and planet: Papers from the 2007 US Forum on the Solidarity Economy. Chicago, IL: ChangeMaker Publications.
Asamblea Constituyente de Bolivia. (2009). Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Retrieved from https://www.oas.org/dil/esp/Constitucion_Bolivia.pdf. Accessed 24 April 2015.
Asamblea Constituyente de Ecuador. (2008). Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador. Retrieved from http://www.asambleanacional.gov.ec/documentos/constitucion_de_bolsillo.pdf. Accessed 16 April 2015.
Borzaga, C., Fazzi, L., & Galera, G. (2016). Social enterprise as a bottom-up dynamic: Part 1. The reaction of civil society to unmet social needs in Italy, Sweden and Japan. International Review of Sociology, 26(1), 1–18.
Bouchard, M. J., Cruz Filho, P., & Zerdani, T. (2015). Social enterprise in Québec: The social economy and the social enterprise concepts. ICSEM working papers no. 23. Retrieved from https://www.iap-socent.be/icsem-working-papers. Accessed 25 May 2018.
Bridge, S., Murtagh, B., & O’Neill, K. (2014). Understanding the social economy and the third sector. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Castelão Caruana, M. E., & Srnec, C. C. (2013). Public policies addressed to the social and solidarity economy in South America. Toward a new model? VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 24(3), 713–732. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-012-9276-y.
Comunidad Andina. (2011). Conclusiones y recomendaciones de la mesa 4: Organizaciones productivas. Sub-mesa Economia Solidaria como motor del desarrollo productivo. Paper presented at the Jornadas de Participación Ciudadana Promoviendo la Integración Regional Cochabamba, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Coraggio, J. L. (2013). La Presencia de la Economía Social y Solidaria (ESS) y su Institucionalización en América Latina. UN working paper, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. Retrieved from http://www.coraggioeconomia.org/jlc/archivos%20para%20descargar/CORAGGIO%20PEKEA%20ingles%20WEB.pdf. Accessed 18 April 2015.
Defourney, J., & Nyssens, M. (2010). Conceptions of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in Europe and the United States: Convergences and divergences. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 32–53.
Defourny, J. (2014). From third sector to social enterprise: A European research trajectory. In J. Defourny, L. Hulgård, & V. Pestoff (Eds.), Social enterprise and the third sector: Changing European landscapes in a comparative perspective. London: Taylor and Francis.
Defourny, J., & Develtere, P. (1999). The social economy: The worldwide making of a third sector. In J. Defourny, B. Fonteneau, & P. Develtere (Eds.), L’Économie Sociale au Nord et au Sud. Paris: De Boeck et Larcier.
Ferguson, G. (2015). From spaces of marginalization to places of participation: Indigenous articulations of the social economy in the Bolivian highlands. Doctoral thesis, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.
Gardin, L. (2014). Solidarity-based initiatives: Field realities and analysis. In J. Defourny, L. Hulgård, & V. Pestoff (Eds.), Social enterprise and the third sector: Changing European landscapes in a comparative perspective. London: Taylor and Francis.
Gibson, K. (2009). Building community-based social enterprises in the Philippines: Diverse development pathways. In A. Amin, A. Cameron, & R. Hudson (Eds.), The social economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. London: Zed Books.
Gibson-Grahman, J. K. (2005). Surplus possibilities: Postdevelopment and community economies. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 1(26), 4–26.
Hillenkamp, I. & Wanderley, F. (2015) Social enterprise in Bolivia: Solidarity economy in context of high informality and labour precariousness. ICSEM working papers no. 21. Retrieved from https://www.iap-socent.be/icsem-working-papers. Accessed 18 May 2018.
ICSEM. (2013). International Comparative Social Enterprise Models (ICSEM) Project. Retrieved from https://www.iap-socent.be/icsem-project. Accessed 18 May 2018.
Lewis, M. (2006). Mapping the social economy in BC and Alberta: Towards a strategic approach. BALTA working paper series. BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance. Retrieved from http://auspace.athabascau.ca:8080/bitstream/2149/1337/3/BALTA%20Working%20Paper-Mapping%20Social%20Economy.pdf. Accessed 18 May 2018.
Lima Declaration. (1997). Paper presented at the RIPESS Latin America founding conference, Lima, Peru. Retrieved from http://www.ripess.org/wpcontent/uploads/2016/10/declaration_lima1997_EN.pdf. Accessed 14 January 2017.
McMurtry, J. J. (2010). Introducing the social economy in theory and practice. In J. J. McMurtry (Ed.), Living economics: Canadian perspectives on the social economy, co-operatives, and community economic development. Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited.
Mendell, M. (2009). The three pillars of the social economy: The Quebec experience. In A. Amin, A. Cameron, & R. Hudson (Eds.), The social economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. London: Zed Books.
MESyCJ. (2008). Plan Estratégico del Movimiento de la Economia Solidaria y Comercio Justo. Unpublished document.
Moulaert, F., & Ailenei, O. (2005). Social economy, third sector and solidarity relations: A conceptual synthesis from history to present. Urban Studies, 42(1), 2037–2053.
Pearce, J. (2009). Social economy: Engaging as a third system. In A. Amin, A. Cameron, & R. Hudson (Eds.), The social economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. London: Zed Books.
Quarter, J., Mook, L., & Armstrong, A. (2017). Understanding the social economy: A Canadian perspective (2nd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Restakis, J. (2006). Defining the social economy—The BC context. Paper presented at the BC social economy roundtable, Vancouver, BC.
RIPESS. (2016). Intercontinental network for the promotion of the social solidarity economy: About Us—continental members. Retrieved from http://www.ripess.org/about-us/continental-members/?lang=en. Accessed 14 January 2017.
Ruiz Rivera, M. J. & Lemaître, A. (2017). Social enterprise in Ecuador: Institutionalization and types of popular and solidarity organizations in the light of political embeddedness. ICSEM working papers no. 39. Retrieved from https://www.iap-socent.be/icsem-working-papers. Accessed 26 May 2018.
Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA). (n.d.). The case for social enterprise. Retrieved from https://socialenterprise.us/about/social-enterprise/.
Thiru, Y. (2015). Social enterprise in the United States: Socio-economic roles of certain types of social enterprise. ICSEM working papers no. 16. Retrieved from https://www.iap-socent.be/icsem-working-papers. Accessed 26 May 2018.
Tremblay, C. (2009). Advancing the social economy for socio-economic development: International perspectives. Public policy series. Retrieved from http://184.108.40.206:8080/xmlui/handle/10587/570. Accessed 10 June 2010.
Walljasper, J. (2017). What Quebec can teach us about creating a social economy. Resilience. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-04-12/quebec-can-teach-us-creating-equitable-Economy/. Accessed 18 May 2018.
Wanderley, F. (2013). The regulatory framework of the plural economy in bolivia-meaning, scope and stakeholders of community social economy. Umbrales, 26, 115–145.
Wanderley, F. (2016). La Economia Solidaria y Comunitaria en Bolivia. Revista de la Academia, 21, 57–75.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Ferguson, G. The Social Economy in Bolivia: Indigeneity, Solidarity, and Alternatives to Capitalism. Voluntas 29, 1233–1243 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-018-0013-z
- Social economy
- Solidarity economy
- Community economy
- Social enterprise