___________________________________________________________________ THIS TEXT HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT BY THE INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE _________________________________________________________ Abstracts : Workshop on New / Social / Gender Co-operatives October 1997 Source : Abstracts presented to the ICA Committee on Research Annual Conference The Co-op Advantage in Civil Economy, Bertinoro, Italy, October 1997 SOCIAL INNOVATION IN CO-OPERATIVES AS A RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS. Prof. Marie J. Bouchard, D. Soc., Ecole des sciences de la gestion, Universite du Québec à Montreal, Canada A third wave of co-operatives came to birth during the nineteen seventies in Quebec, showing major differences in regard of those preceding (Deschênes, 1980). Small and wanting to remain so, these co-operatives resisted to centralisation, therefore opposing themselves to the model developed by the previous waves of co-operatives (agricultural, loans and savings, consumer,etc.). These co-ops cherished their autonomy and independence, preferring direct democracy to representation democracy. Involved in domains related to culture, job creation and life style, Quebec co-operatives are, for the first time in their history, animated by a genuine social project. This shows a rupture with the previous model of development, since these co-operatives reject the standardisation of collective consumption (rental housing, health services, children daycare, etc.) as well as the taylorisation of work (worker owned co-operatives). The values animating this wave of co-operatives are related to those of the new social movements (Maheu, 1983; Melucci, 1983), which gives evidence of the first phase (Lipietz, 1989) of the contemporary crisis: the rethinking of the welfare-fordist model of development. Now, these co-ops progressively bartered their contesting position for a more complex posture which combines opposition and complementarity with the dominant model (may it be neo-fordist or neo-liberal). These co-operative sectors are changing in regard of 1) social relations (new forms of professionalization, new ties to social policy, new partnerships), of 2) institutional rules (withdrawal of older forms of government support, new territorial modes of regulation, new legislations), as well as 3) organisational forms (network federations, hybridisation of legal status). This research looks into the responses to the crisis provided by these co-ops today, after at least a full life cycle of their original social innovation (10-15 years of existence). The firsts findings of this study show that third wave co-operatives are still producing social innovation in terms of relationships to consumers and workers, as well as relationships to the local territory. These findings tend to show that the more recent phase of the crisis, the «economic» phase, brings third wave co-operatives to renew their practices as well as their ideological positioning in regard to the model of development, producing alternatives to neo-fordist and to neo- liberal options. TWO DECADES OF IMPROVEMENT OF SPANISH WORKER CO-OPERATIVES. Dr Rafael Chaves, Department of Applied Economics, University of Valencia, Spain In the Mediterranean European countries, particularly in Italy, Spain and France is where the worker co-operatives movement enjoys more installation and long history. Spain is nowadays, without doubt, the European country, after Italy, where there is the main number of companies of this type, with more personnel workers. According to estimates of Monzon and Morales (1996), based on data from the INFES - National Institute for the Promotion of the Social Economy, of Spanish Labour Ministry, there were in 1995 14,197 worker co-ops actives, and they employed 164,352 workers. Furthermore, in Spain, other enterprises named Sociedades laborales -"Labour societies"-, are considered by politics and academics as workers ownerd firms, like worker co-ops. These Labour societies are capital societies controlled by their workers: More than 51% of their shares should belong to the workers and one only of them can not possess more than 25% of the shares. By and large, according to the cited source, the workers firms add 19,610 enterprises with a total of 217,360 workers. Recently it has been carried out by the Ciriec-España, in collaboration with the Federations of Valencian Co-operatives and the Regional Government of Valencia (Spain), a vast research whose aim was to analyze the different areas of the Social Economy of this region (different kinds of co-operatives, mutualities, associations and Labour societies), specially worker firms and Agriculture Co-operative. This Paper that I present focuses on the principal macro-economic results obtained from the worker co-ops area, the one which I was the scientific responsible. The content of the present work is the following. First, a short historical reference of Spanish and Valencian worker co-ops movement is offered. It puts in relief the strong expansion happened since the last seventies. In second place three sides of the Valencian worker co-operatives active are analyzed: 1) their demographic evolution, 2) their contribution to job creation and their sectorial evolution and distribution. Finally the article concludes with a reflection about the possible explanatory factors of the evolution experimented by the Valencia (and Spanish) worker co-operatives. THE PROVISION OF CARE THROUGH CO-OPERATIVES. Judith Foggin-Brown, Northumbria University, United Kingdom, Anita Lord, Sweden Predominantly the provision of personal social services in the formal sector has been organised by men and provided by women. Such organisation of care has come under criticism of late not least from feminist writers, for its bureaucratic patriarchal style of management and hierarchical structure. It is suggested here that care organisation should take on a bottom-up approach which will then lead to the empowerment of those providing and using care services. One way to effect this is through co-operatives. Based on a one member one vote philosophy such organisations have the potential to cultivate empowering environments indeed they are the only model that formalise and legalise the participation of users or providers. Traditionally co-operatives have been organised along the lines of a consumer model, owned and controlled by those in receipt of the product/service, or a worker model, owned and controlled by those producing/providing a product/service. There are however problems with this model in relation to user/provider empowerment. For example, a uni-stakeholder co-op represents the views of a single group. This could be to the detriment of other groups who have a vested interest in the organisation. A more recent model is the multi-stakeholder co-op whereby a number of people with different interests and from varying backgrounds are involved in the same organisation. Such an organisation would constitute 'professionals' such as general practitioners (GP's), health visitors, care providers etc. as well as 'non-professionals' such as the service users. The first problem however with this model is that GP's, health visitors etc. only have a limited amount of time and would therefore find it difficult to commit fully to the co-op. This in turn begs the question whether someone who only appears occasionally for a meeting is deserving of the same voting rights as those who are involved on a day-to-day basis. A further problem is, the professional non-professional divide would inevitably lead to a two-tier organisation of care which in turn would be no different to the hierarchical and paternalistic organisations it had been set up to replace. An alternative to the uni or multi-stakeholder co-op is a bi or dual stakeholder co-operative. Here it would be both users and providers who owned and controlled the organisation. This would represent a radical break away from conventional models both of care provision generally and more specifically care provided through co-operatives. It is radical in that it gives users and providers a rightful stake in the organisation and provision of care. It is radical as it is empowering people rather than simply paying lip service to the concept. JAPANESE WOMEN AND THE TWO STREAMS OF THE CONSUMER CO-OPERATIVES AS SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. Yoko Nakajima, Osaka University, Japan Roughly speaking, Japanese Co-ops can be classified into two streams: one is what I call the mainstream Co-ops; the other is the Seikatsu Clubs. There are some interesting indicators which differentiate the two streams, but I'll concentrate on just the women's viewpoint. Firstly, how have the Co-ops of the two streams been useful for the emancipation of Japanese women and what is the relationship between the co-op movements and feminism which demands abolition of the sexual division of labour both at home and in society? In the process of Japanese economic growth and urbanisation, both the streams of Co-ops developed rapidly. At that time, the energy of the mainstream Co-ops depended on the middle-class and highly-educated housewives as participants of consumer movements. On the other hand, from the beginning, the Seikatsu Clubs were very conscious about making Japanese people and their society more autonomous. The male founders of the first Club "found " the housewives who were potential social activists rather than their husbands who were absorbed in competition and promotion in their companies. In both the streams, almost all the managerial leaders have been male. However, the crucial difference between the males of the two streams is to what extent they are free from the traditional notion of the sexual division of labour. When we look at the relationship between the co-op movements and feminism, any co-op organisation itself is based on the precondition of the sexual division of labour. It means we can define any co-op movement as a housewives movement in terms of promoting the social participation of women. Therefore, if we think of feminism as the idea of enlarging women's freedom in any sphere, the co-op movements were, especially in Japan, one of the important components of feminism in its broad meaning. However, a logical contradiction remains for the female activists. Especially not a few women of the mainstream Co-ops seem to be conservative and inconsistent; because they avoid the issue of the sexual division of labour inside their own family, in spite of demanding "empowerment" as a gender problem in the Co-ops. Without resolving this contradiction, the women will continue to find themselves patronised by the male leaders. On the other hand, both males and females of the Seikatsu Clubs are more determined and sensitive to the issue of gender . The consciousness in the Clubs can be pro-feminism without specific intention, because their social values lie in encouraging any member of the Clubs who promotes a progressive civil society. A good example of this is that the Clubs were the pioneer of Workers Collectives in which Japanese housewives were able to generate their own jobs. It is a fulfilment of feminism. Secondly, what are advantages and possibilities for future housewives to commit themselves to the Co-ops? Recently, mainstream co-op women have organised themselves into groups of volunteers whose main function is the care of senior citizens. This activity is a large change from the previous popular activities, namely testing various foods outside the Co-ops and launching in-house products inside the Co-ops. Nowadays there are a lot of NPOs and NGOs besides the Co-ops. Accordingly it is not necessarily easy for the mainstream Co-ops to attract younger housewives. In the case of the Seikatsu Clubs, the establishment of various types of Workers Collectives has been synchronising with the cutting-edge trends, such as the setting up of new small businesses and independent civic movements. At least we can say that the Clubs led to innovation in the Japanese context in terms of casting sharp questions on social problems and introducing new methods for their solution. However, it is said that some Workers Collectives are facing a lack of younger housewives, namely successors to the Collectives. Especially young single women would prefer a job in a private company to a job in the Workers Collectives because of the large differences in both payment and working conditions. Just recently a survey has shown us that there aren't so many young women who want to keep working as regular full-time workers. This fact indicates that the silent resistance of young women against a Japanese lifestyle centered on paid-work and that they reject abandonment of pro-family attitudes. Also there can be new possibilities for social movements, including any Co-ops, to be revitalized by those women whose potential is very high. As the development of both the streams of Co-ops has typically shown, Japanese "feminism" is biased in favour of unpaid social work. EMPOWERING CONSUMERS AS CO-PRODUCERS OF SOCIAL SERVICES - THE CASE OF DAY CARE IN SWEDEN. Dr. Victor Pestoff, Sodertorns Hogskola, Sweden In this paper explores an extension and adaptation of the concept of co-production to the area of personal social services and co-operative providers of such services. Our data comes from a survey study of 580 parents from 60 day care services in Sweden and three different forms of co-operative provision: parent co-operatives, voluntary organizations and worker co-operatives. Both parent co-operatives and voluntary organizations have a work obligation associated with membership, while worker co-operatives lack this feature, as parents can't become members. The parents of both the first two types of co-operatives express similar attitudes to the positive aspects of the work obligation. It facilitates their participation, gives a feeling of belonging and valuable insights, i.e., it enables their integration into the organization and running of co-operative day care services. In contrast to attitudes about the work obligation, parent attitudes about their work on the board emphasize first and foremost the political aspect of holding an elective office in co-operative day care services, i.e., it increases parental influence. Turning to reasons for choosing their preferred form of co-operative day care services we noted a clear profile for each type of day care service. Influence, wanting to participate more in their child(ren)'s daily life and closeness to home provide a clear profile for parents with children in parent co-operatives. Special pedagogics, wanting to influence and wanting to participate more in their child(ren)'s daily life dominate the motives of parents with children in voluntary organizations. Both these sets of parents clearly motivate their choice of co-operative day care form more in terms of expressive values and less in instrumental terms. Closeness to home, a recommendation by relatives or friends and the lack of other alternatives were the main motives of parents with children in worker co-operatives, which clearly express the more instrumental attitudes of parents with children in worker co-operatives. Parents in all three types of co-operatives strongly appreciate the willingness of the staff to discuss parents' suggestions for changes and improvements Moreover, they express a similar level of satisfaction with the running and administration of their child(ren)'s day care service. Moreover, many parent have previously had a child(ren) in municipal day care services, and their comparisons between co-operative and municipal services are clearly to the advantage of co-operatives in terms of the openness of the staff of all types of co-operatives. They also clearly feel that co-operative day care service, regardless of the type, is better than municipal services. Finally, given a free choice, they categorically state a preference for the co-operative form, regardless of the type of co-operative. Thus, our findings suggest that no single organizational formula can meet the needs and requirements of all parents for day care services in Sweden. Wikström (1996) argues that co-production is motivated by the degree of uncertainty in the exchange between the producer and consumer of goods and services and the potential benefit to the participants from eliminating such uncertainty. The creation of benefits related to the values of the parents is made possible by some types of co-operative day care centers. In particular the values of parent influence, participation in their child(ren)'s daily life, special pedagogics, feelings of belonging are important values to the parents with children in parent co-operative and voluntary organizations. Co-production eliminates the uncertainty related to interaction between producers and consumers of such services, since it involves parents in the production of day care services. Their participation is the best guarantee of quality, according to one parent. Thus, co-production both enables the parents and empowers them in fulfilling their own values related to the institutional care of their children.