ECOSOL - Economia Solidária

Solidarity Economy as a different perspective and its situation in Portugal

Although the concept of Solidarity Economy consolidated its path in Europe, particularly in the French-speaking world, the name itself remains  little used in Portugal, constituting a recent subject of research in universities and research institutes. The connection in the social imagery between Solidarity Economy and Social Economy - having some aspects in common with this latter and clearly distancing from it concerning other issues – make Solidarity Economy look like simultaneously odd and familiar. Having in common with Social Economy the concern with cooperativism and associativism, Solidarity Economy differs from it by emphasising collective economic initiatives (being formal or not), characterised by self-management, associated work and solidarity. In these terms, solidarity should be understood as equitative distribution of opportunities, goods and outfits.

Even being modest relative to its potential, Solidarity Economy in Portugal reveals ideal conditions for developing as a field of major social and economic relevance. Whilst gaining more prominance in Portugal, mainly before the search for alternatives to deal with economic crisis in Europe, many community and informal initiatives, marked by a totally different rationality, come to the fore, deviating from the apparent uniqueness of the capitalist mode of production and consumption.