Solidarity Purchasing Groups
Maestripieri, Lara (Università di Pavia)

Data: 2016
Resum: Solidarity Purchasing Groups (GAS) movement is a peculiar bottom up social innovation that has been spreading over the past 20 years in Italy. It is composed mostly of self-organised groups of citizens who collectively buy from small organic producers in Italy. They promote several practices that sustain the alternative food networks in the country, such as: solidarity and critical consumption, organic and km-0 productions as ways to promote environment protection, respect of labour regulation and fair economic relations. Several authors have recognised their role in reducing the marginalization of small and micro farms in the country (Forno and Graziano, 2014; Grasseni, 2014). The historical foundation of GAS can be traced back to the 19th century, when mutual purchasing groups had been promoted in the experience of consumers' cooperatives. More recently, the NoGlobal movement and the expansion of fair trade during the '90s have favoured the progressive increase of consumerism awareness among the middle classes (both in terms of purchasing power and in terms of cultural capital) that sustained the progressive growth of the GASs movement. GASs are now in a mature phase of the social innovation cycle and new more institutionalised forms (such as emporiums and formal associations) have now been established next to the original informal groups of consumers. The aim of this paper is to describe origins, features and transformations of the GASs movement in Italy. Our analysis is based on documents, materials and interviews out of WP7 qualitative phase in order to sketch a case study about Solidarity Purchasing Group. Between September 2015 and January 2016 35 interviews have been conducted with social innovators belonging to 35 GASs, distributed nation-wide. GASs have been selected randomly, stratifying the sample on the basis of a composite index aimed to capture the vulnerability of the contexts, being classified as low, medium and high vulnerable territories. The Italian team has interviewed at least ten social innovators for each type of context. In order to fully understand the life cycle of the social innovation and to trace the historical foundation of GASs movement, starting from the original experience of mutual consumer cooperatives, we have also added up 7 key-informant interviews with national and local representatives of GAS movement and with academic experts.
Nota: Número d'acord de subvenció EC/FP7/613261
Drets: Tots els drets reservats
Llengua: Anglès
Col·lecció: CRESSI Working Paper ; 29/2016
Document: workingPaper
Publicat a: Report on relevant actors in historic examples and an empirically driven typology on types of social innovation, 2016, p. 335-368

34 p, 698.9 KB

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