Building Solidarity Economies

BSE (Building Solidarity Economies) is an assemblage of classes, projects, internships, and engaged research efforts including Anthropology 340 Other Economies are Possible, Anthropology 341 Building Solidarity Economies, the Community Based Summer Internship Program, and The Mutual Aid Project. BSE is assembled and designed to teach, learn about, research, and build relationships that can strengthen solidarity economies—initiatives and movements that put people and planet before profit.

 

A weekend workshop with CoWOP organizers.

 

Anthropology 341 Building Solidarity Economies is the central, 6-credit praxis-based course in BSE. In Spring 2022, the class worked with and learned from the Coalition for Worker Ownership and Power (CoWOP). Students worked in “pods” on research projects collaboratively designed with CoWOP that will help facilitate relationship building and support policy campaigns.  BSE also worked with Common Share Food Cooperative--an effort to bring a full service, inclusive, worker-owned/consumer owned hybrid cooperative grocery to Amherst. Students worked to support Common Shares efforts to reach the 1000-member threshold needed to begin to build the store, and researched other food cooperatives who employ hybrid models, learning qualitative research techniques in the process.

 

 

“Through BSE and the Mutual Aid Project I have learned how to engage with my community and larger coalitions to understand what alternatives to capitalism mean to people as they exist right now. I've been able to exercise my research, interviewing, coalition building, writing, event planning skills and more.”

--Anthropology Major Quinn Kinney, Class of 2023

 

 

The Mutual Aid Project

The Mutual Aid Project is a joint project between faculty and students, and between BSE (Building Solidarity Economies) in Anthropology and the Community Scholars Program in Civic Engagement and Service Learning. The Mutual Aid Project researches mutual aid theory and practice and facilitates mutual aid projects.

 

A Friday afternoon Thingswap in the Goodell Lounge.

 

The central organizing mechanism of the the Mutual Aid Project is the regularly held Thingswap. People bring clothes, food, household items, art, and conversations. They teach each other skills and build relationships between individuals and organizations.

For more information about BSE or the Mutual Aid Project, contact Boone W. Shear, bshear@umass.edu