The solidarity economy initiatives (ES) in Brazil have specific traits, for example, their traditional roots. As in most developing countries, the ES is not rooted in the history of the institutionalization of the 19th century initiatives, but in the ancient history of popular economy practices. Therefore, these initiatives are neither structured, nor institutionalized as in our European countries. In particular, the popular cooperativism is rooted in the local economy, with a strong territorial anchoring, gar from conventional employment circuits or areas covered by social protection public policies.
Literature has considerably marked the socio-economic experiences of ES. In this paper, we defend the hypothesis that, in order to study this area today, in Brazil, we must add a level of analysis, which is the socio-political study of these organizations.
We need to go beyond the organizational analysis to enrich it with the contribution of embeddedness theories, which allow to treat the organizations as institutions, as legitimacy systems capable of taking action in their context. In particular, the concept of political embeddedness, resulting from Polanyi’s analysis of (1944) invites us to explore how such initiatives have gradually been included in the public space.