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HomeSocial and solidarity economy in the territories

Social and solidarity economy in the territories

Économie sociale et solidaire dans les territoires

Initiatives, challenges and prospects

Initiatives, enjeux et perspectives

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Published on Thursday, May 19, 2016


La XVe conférence annuelle internationale du réseau international d’intelligence territoriale (INTI) aura lieu les 23, 24 et 25 novembre 2016 à Charleroi et Liège en Belgique. Elle portera sur l'économie sociale et solidaire dans les territoires, les initiatives, enjeux et perspectives.


15th Annual International Conference of the International Network of Territorial Intelligence (INTI)


The socio-economic system that we have known for decades has unarguably fostered substantial improvements in the living conditions of the West. Nonetheless, voices are today pointing out that this system also generates significant social and environmental tensions, which call for certain changes in the way in which we conceive the conduct of economic activity.

In this overall reflection on this system’s performance, social and solidarity economy (SSE) is a form of organizing trade based on “cardinal values” (Draperi 2007): responsibility, equality, autonomy and solidarity, to which S. Swaton and C. Danand add limiting ecological impact (2014). It has inspired a growing number of initiatives that proclaim their lineage from it.

The place of economy in sustainable development must be reconsidered. Socio-ecological transition must jointly create harmony between the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development. This doesn’t mean merely adding social and environmental dimensions to economic development, which is the sole existing one, without thoroughly transforming the latter. Neither is it a denial of the interest of saving, which has introduced the idea of limiting the consumption of resources useful for making a product. But it is clear that we must regulate the overconsumption of resources, to which the boundless quest for profit has led, as well as address the societal challenges that are currently jeopardizing “our planet”, or, in other words, humanity. Other criteria that guarantee equity in the distribution of wealth and respect bio-diversity must be devised.

Circular economy, functional economy and collaborative economy are often mentioned as new alternatives. Circular economy proposes incentivized behaviours organized by appropriate governance towards which the economy should normally have led, while the quest for profit has led to overconsumption and wastage of resources. Functional economy takes note of evolution from the possession of a product to access to services. It is linked to impoverishment and precarious employment arising from dropping salaries and declining purchasing power, due to which a large part of the population is no longer able to have access to goods, including basic goods. They must then be shared, be possessed in common. The management of the commons is also rendered necessary by the awareness that our resources are finite. Beyond these three alternatives, social and solidarity economy represents a transversal path which, while sometimes relying on these recent trends, has been experimenting since decades with practices aimed at a more equitable distribution of created wealth, attention to collective challenges (which include environmental challenges).

In 2008, the Wallonia Region (WR) provided a definition of social economy through a decree. This definition highlights the special ethics behind the actions that characterise social and solidarity economy initiatives and which translate into four organisational principles: service aimed at members or the community; autonomous management; a democratic decision-making process; and the primacy of people and labour in the distribution of incomes.

The term “social and solidarity enterprises” refers to organisations that comply with the definition laid down in the WR decree and are potentially in market competition with enterprises guided by capitalist objectives.

The social and solidarity economy does not constitute per se a sector to be prioritised. Hence it does not concern only “low-value” occupations or those related to social reintegration. Moreover, emerging social and solidarity economy projects are often guided by the rationale of social innovation, which translates into offering products/services that are yet to be provided by public/private players, using innovative action, or mobilising resources that have not been used by conventional companies or public operators.

In 2015, the Walloon Government wished to create a fund specifically earmarked for financing cooperatives (Brasero, and infuse dynamism in cooperative entrepreneurship in Wallonia with a view to:

  • Mobilizing citizen “savings” and involving citizens;
  • Developing communities of interests between producers and consumers, and between co-operators and workers, among others;
  • Generating direct impact on the local economy.

In Liège, the social and solidarity economy is already well established in various activities  (such as waste recovery, construction, recycling, services, etc.), but there are also projects in other sectors”: “Wine of Liège” cooperative; Creative Resources Counter (CRC); Companions of the Earth, etc. The social and solidarity economy must also be approached to participate in deliberations on the reconversion of industrial zones suitable for recovery and processing of waste, urban renovation of abandoned quarters, development of economic projects directly related to cultural activities or tourism. Bolstered with the experience of several decades, clearly dedicated financing sources, experienced managers, social and solidarity economy will be an essential lever for a wide range of economic reconversion and socio-ecological transition projects.

The conference will be inaugurated in Charleroi. The City of Charleroi was an early partner of the "International Network of Territorial Intelligence" (INTI). It was part of the model actions of the Third Programme for Poverty Eradication, along with the collaborative initiative of the Doubs Department, France, and the city of Huelva, Spain, which created the first European Network of Social and Economic Integration (REIES), coordinated first by the Doubs project, then by the MIREC (Charleroi Regional Mission for Integration and Employment) in 1991.

The Catalyse territorial evaluation and observation method (, initiated by Doubs was developed thereafter as part of the community health programme of Seraing (with ASBL Optima), in Durbuy (with Intégra+), then in Chapelle-Lez-Herlaimont as part of the European Network of Territorial Intelligence (ENTI), with the support of SEGEFA - University of Liège and the 6th Framework Programme of Research and Technological Development.

SEGEFA, along with SPI, organised the 11th Annual Conference of Territorial Intelligence on the theme of “The Sustainable Economy under the New Development Culture” in September 2011. It was during this scientific event that INTI – International Network of Territorial Intelligence – was founded under the GDRI INTI international scientific coordination action.

This Belgian dynamics formed part of the dissemination of the INTI network (, first in Europe (namely France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Spain), then in Latin America (particularly in Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay), and more recently in Africa (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia, etc.)

Specifications of the Call for Papers

The papers selected by the international scientific committee must combine the three following aspects:

  • theme of for-profit social economy and solidarity enterprises including a territorial aspect
  • research action involving researchers and grassroots workers (exemption may be granted in case of genuine pluridisciplinary work);
  • reference to partnerships between the stakeholders of the co-construction projects.

The papers will be presented and discussed during theme-wise workshops.

Four themes have been suggested:

A. Impact measurement and assessment in the framework of territorial observation

Territorial observation helps go beyond merely producing indicators, and enables stakeholders of a territory to be part of the decision-making process determining their needs, and of the implementation of concrete collaborative initiatives and evaluating them. In this context, the measurement of the social and environmental impact of social and solidarity economy and its assessment must be developed. The proposals must show interest in assessing the general impact of social and solidarity economy and/or that of social and solidarity economy enterprises. They must be included as part of the sustainable development of territories, and/or in the socio-ecological transition process, while emphasising on the difficulties generated in terms of their direct impact on the local economy.

B. Principle and value of the social and solidarity economy in connection with the sustainable development of territories

The potential of social and solidarity economy is practically boundless, as in the case of the standard/classic/conventional economy, for the difference lies solely in its ethical stand, which essentially translates into a democratic decision-making process and a non-capitalist model of allocating revenues. But what exactly are the fundamentals with regard to the contribution of the SSE to the sustainable development of territories? The references and definitions of SSE are varied. This call for papers takes the main definitions on which these deliberations are based (GSEF of Montreal, in Europe, in France, Switzerland, Wallonia Region) but it is important to specify these with the aim of reflecting on a convergence of definitions that can be agreed on and become operational on the ground.

C. The contribution of the economic aspect within sustainable development

The theme focusing on the economic aspects of management will pay particular attention to new economic models that incorporate equitable sharing of created wealth and remain viable. In this context, social and cooperative entrepreneurship must play a primary role and the deliberations must lead to positioning these models as fundamentals for rethinking development. The whole challenge lies in rethinking the value chain, both in terms of creation and appropriation. Citizen cooperatives also have a role to play in the sustainable development of territories. Generally, citizen participation (including that of workers) should improve the resilience of territories. Specific case studies must be made so as to draw elements from it that are consubstantial with the redefinition of the economic development framework and use the force of market economics and control it, i.e. by more strongly associating the freedom of initiative and trade mechanisms with the challenges of society (social cohesion, democracy, sustainability).

D. Collective intelligence and territorial governance

The general aim of this theme will be to rethink the role of human activity in society, questioning each and every individual’s responsibility in various modes of relations in cooperation rather than domination, and work as a concerted activity instead of social torture (trepanum).

The informative and publicity practices of SSE actors will be analysed to decipher their contributions to the sustainable development of the social and solidarity economy. For this purpose collective intelligence mobilized for innovative projects is vital. Apart from a specific project, the combination of the reliability of stakeholders, partnerships and territorial embeddedness should help attain the durability goals of future developments.


  • Mid-May: Launch of call for papers
  • 15 June: Last date for receiving abstracts

  • 15 July: Decision of the scientific committee on the abstracts
  • 30 September: Submission of complete papers (7 pages)
  • 23-25 November: Conference
  • 15 December: Submission of revised papers
  • 1st April 2017: Publication

Date and place

Seminar on 23, 24 and 25 November 2016

Charleroi and Liège, Belgium

Submission guidelines

The abstracts must be drafted in a maximum of 400 words in either English or French, and sent to, indicating in the beginning:

  • The title
  • The author(s) and their professional contact details;
  • Paper format: presentation, poster or demonstration;
  • Theme chosen: A, B, C or D.

The abstracts will be anonymously reviewed twice by an international scientific committee. They may be rejected, or accepted in the form of posters, papers, or demonstrations. The submitted posters and articles will be reviewed by experts before being approved for communication and publication.

All accepted abstracts, and eventually the text of the papers as well as presentations, will be published in digital format ahead of the conference.

For this purpose, apart from the abstract submitted for the proposed paper, the authors must provide, according to what is applicable in their case:

  • A text of a maximum of 7 pages and slides for the paper
  • The poster and an accompanying text of 4 pages maximum for the posters
  • An explanation of the demonstration and an accompanying text of 4 pages maximum

Depending on the workshops, the author could orally present the paper, or the workshop coordinator could make a short presentation on it. The official languages of the conference are French and English. Papers may be allowed in the author’s language provided the accompanying slides are in French or English.

Accepted papers will be published in written form in the conference proceedings (7 pages for the papers, 4 pages for the posters or demonstrations; the maximum image size allowed is 1800 x 1200 pixels, 300 dpi resolution, in JPEG (.jpg) format, and CMYK for colour illustrations) on HAL-SHS. They must follow the format of the INTI collection articles (ISSN 2493-4488, http://inti. Style sheet of HAL-SHS INTI collection articles).

Pre-programme (tentative)

22/11 afternoon, Charleroi

INTI meeting

23/11 Charleroi:

Co-organised with the VISES-Interreg (ConcertEs-CRESS Lille) project

  • Morning session: Theme A – The challenges of measuring and assessing societal impact.
  • Afternoon session: Themes A and B – Territorial observation and social and solidarity economy

24/11 Charleroi

  • Morning: Guided field trip by the Charleroi CPAS
  • Transfer to Liège

24/11 Liège (HEC ULg) afternoon:

  • Workshop: Theme C - Social and cooperative entrepreneurship-Scop
  • Workshop: Theme B and C - Governance and participation in enterprises

25/11 Liège (ULg):

  • Workshop: Theme D - Collective intelligence and the development of territories
  • Workshop: Theme D - Territorial governance and social and solidarity economy

Scientific Committee

  • Jean-Jacques Girardot, Assistant Professor, Economist, Université de Franche-Comté MSHE, France, President of INTI Scientific Council.
  • Guénaël Devillet, Géographer, Université de Liège SEGEFA, Belgium.
  • Cyril Masselot, Assistant Professor, Information and Communication Science, Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté MSHE CIMEOS, France, INTI coordinator.
  • Natale Ammaturo, Professor, Sociology, Université de Salerno DISUFF, Italy.
  • Eric Bernard, Expert in Social Economy, Belgium.
  • Aline Bingen, Professor, Economist, Centre Merites, Université Libre of Brussels, Belgium.
  • Horacio Bozzano, Professor, Geographer, Universidad Nacional de La Plata TAG, Argentina.
  • Dominique Paule Decoster, Professor, Sociologist, University of Mons, Belgium.
  • Olivier Galibert, Assistant Professor, Information and Communication Science, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté CIMEOS, France
  • Sybile Mertens, Professor, Economist, CES, Université de Liège, Belgium.
  • Blanca Miedes Ugarte, Assistant Professor, Economist, Universidad de Huelva C3IT, Spain.
  • Raul Montenegro, Professor, Alternative Nobel Prize 2004, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.
  • Nanta Novello Paglianti, Assistant Professor, Information and Communication Science, Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté MSHE CIMEOS, France.
  • Marthe Nyssens, Professor, Sociologist, CIRTES, Université Catholique of Louvain, Belgium.
  • Serge Ormaux, Assistant Professor, Professor, Geographer, Université de Franche-Comté ThéMA, France.
  • Mohamed Oudada, Professor, Geographer, Université Ibn Zohr d’Agadir ESEAD, Morocco.
  • Anaïs Perilleux, Doctor, Economist, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
  • Barbara Sak, Associate Professor, Economist, CIRIEC, Université de Liège, Belgium.
  • Giovanna Truda, Assistant Professor, professor of sociology, Université de Salerno, Italy.
  • Didier Vranken, Professor, Sociologist, MSH, Université de Liège, Belgium.
  • Philippe Woloszyn, Researcher, Université de Rennes 2 ESO, France.


  • CPAS de Charleroi, Boulevard Joseph II 13
    Charleroi, Belgium (B-6000)
  • SEGEFA SART, Tillman B11 2 allée du 6 août
    Liège, Belgium (B-4000)


  • Wednesday, June 15, 2016


  • intelligence territoriale, économie sociale et solidaire, développement durable, territoire, observation, gouvernance, coopération, participation


  • Cyril Masselot
    courriel : cyril [dot] masselot [at] mshe [dot] univ-fcomte [dot] fr
  • Guénaël Devillet
    courriel : g [dot] devillet [at] ulg [dot] ac [dot] be
  • Jean-Jacques Girardot
    courriel : jjg [at] mshe [dot] univ-fcomte [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Jean-Jacques Girardot
    courriel : jjg [at] mshe [dot] univ-fcomte [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Social and solidarity economy in the territories », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 19, 2016,

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