As #9EMESconf slowly approaches, we’ll be revealing parts of it so you can get an idea of what it will bring. This ninth edition on the theme of “Act locally, change globally: Social enterprises and cooperatives for more resilient economies and societies” will be counting on the presence of Mario Diani, president of EMES institutional member Euricse and professor of sociology at the University of Trento.
As we exchanged in preparation for the Conference, Mario Diani shared some of his thoughts on the situation facing our societies challenged by health, environmental and economic crises and what contribution one can expect from research conferences like the EMES.
“The last decades have seen the dominance of a neo-liberal paradigm that has looked at any kind of social behavior and social issue with the lenses of market exchange and profit-maximization. However, such dominance has been made even greater by the relative fragmentation of the actors – in the social economy as well as in society more generally – that subscribe to alternative perspectives. One important task of research conferences like EMES is to create the conditions for the forging of broader alliances between those who value the primacy of people over capital and acknowledge the need to urgently change the predominant production and consumption models. These include different actors of the social economy but also researchers across different fields.”
What practical implication on societal issues could offer international networks like EMES and institutes like Euricse, which have been working for decades in promoting knowledge in the SE field (including social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social and solidarity economy, and social innovation)?
“People across the world are massively worried about “glocal” challenges such as those linked to climate change, economic or political instability, and growing inequality. However, they often miss the vocabulary to make sense of those challenges. They struggle to translate their personal anxieties into social problems, i.e., problems resulting from the tensions between conflicting social interests, and the dominance of some social groups over others. The grand narratives that have shaped social differences (and this given voice to conflicts) in modernity have largely gone, and have not been replaced (yet). In such vacuum, populist ideologies have gained increasing influence. International networks and organizations active in the social economy can give an important contribution to developing alternative readings of contemporary problems, distant from aggressive, violent narrations, but able to give voice to the sectors of society that have been increasingly pushed to the margins of public life by the dominant neo-liberal paradigms.”
The EMES International Research Network, in partnership with the Competence Center for Social Intervention Research (KomSI) at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, jointly organise the #9EMESconf aims to be a meeting place for scholars, practitioners and policymakers involved in social enterprise, cooperative, and social innovation research across the globe.
For any additional information and important dates, please visit the official webpage.