Borzaga, C. & Galera, G. (2016), Innovating the provision of welfare services through collective action: the case of Italian social cooperatives, International Review of Sociology, 26(1): 31-47.

Social cooperatives are the most widespread social enterprise type in Italy. Their evolution has stimulated the development of diverse interpretative frameworks of social enterprise determinants: the mainstream one is that social cooperatives are the outcome of contracting out policies. Through a critical investigation of social cooperatives’ emergence, integration into public policies, and reaction to the financial crisis, the authors refocus attention to one of the key modes of creation of social enterprises that has not gained the attention it deserves: the bottom-up dynamic. The analysis carried out sheds light on the contribution of citizens’ mobilization to institutional change and confirms that social enterprises can also emerge in an unprepared and hostile ideological, economic and political context.
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