Monday, October 03, 2011
PUBLICATION: Collective Action: Research, Theory and Practice: Celebrating Elinor Ostrom and Her Work
Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) is a decentralized collective of educators, researchers and grassroots activists working to promote an economy based on democratic participation, worker and community ownership, social and economic justice, and ecological sustainability--a "solidarity economy"--through grassroots journalism, organizing support, cross-sector networking and movement-building and the publication of educational and organizational resources.
The latest issue of the GEO newsletter is on the theme of “Collective Action: Research, Theory and Practice: Celebrating Elinor Ostrom and Her Work”.
Most of GEO's readers are practitioners of economic collective action. They may be wondering why GEO is dedicating an entire issue not only to the practice of, but the theory and research of collective action as well.
Well, an important shift is underway in academia and it seems to be building momentum. It is a spreading inter-disciplinary interest in empathy, cooperation, and group-level behavior that seems to be converging in networks both within and outside of university structures. Practitioners of collective action should take heed of these developments. We work mostly in the margins of our political and economic life, and maybe this sea change can become a very empowering resource for making cooperation work more deeply and more broadly than we can even imagine.
Cooperation is now a core issue of our times, and because of the ferocious energy of many in the social sciences, it is re-emerging into the spotlight of public attention. Theorists and researchers of cooperation and collective action share the values and passions of practitioners, but, as Marx put it so eloquently, the point is to change the world not just to understand it. And for this endeavor, researchers and theorists can inform and even transform how we do collective action in real life, and we can be a cornucopia of experience for more understanding of the questions they are puzzling over.