Economics at your fingertips  

Reducing the Risk of Co-Optation in Alternative Food Networks: Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives, Social Capital, and Third Spaces of Cooperation

Raquel Ajates
Additional contact information
Raquel Ajates: Social Digital, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 20, 1-0

Abstract: Farming cooperatives are organisations fundamentally based on social capital. However, the neoliberal and globalisation turn in the food system have led to the economisation of agricultural cooperatives as their main objective and criteria for evaluating their performance, and to a retreat from their participation in the wider cooperative movement. Nevertheless, new models of cooperation may provide a method to divert from this neoliberalisation trend by promoting social capital and mutual learning amongst different actors committed to a transition to sustainable food systems. This paper applies the anthropological concept of third spaces to examine the case of multistakeholder cooperatives. This type of food and farming cooperatives are composed of a diverse membership groups (e.g., producers, consumers, coordinators, buyers, etc). A nuanced analysis of these cooperatives’ capacity to generate social capital, and more specifically to blur the boundaries between bonding, bridging, and linking social capital, is presented. Evidence from five case studies suggests that multistakeholder cooperatives that remain at the border of their game, operating in both real and symbolic third spaces, are more likely to be based on and reproduce different types of social capital as well as social and environmental sustainability, while in turn reducing the risk of co-optation of their transformative practices.

Keywords: third spaces; social capital; multi-stakeholder cooperatives; agricultural cooperatives; co-optation; alternative food networks; sustainable food systems; Spain; U.K.; consumer identity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf) (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Sustainability is currently edited by Mr. Samuel Li

More articles in Sustainability from MDPI
Bibliographic data for series maintained by MDPI Indexing Manager ().

Page updated 2023-05-18
Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:13:y:2021:i:20:p:11219-:d:653976