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Workshop Directors

Euiyoung Kim
Professor and Director, Political Science and International Relations, Institute for Korean Politics, Seoul National University

Hiroki Miura
Researcher, Institute of Korean Political Studies, Seoul National University

Workshop Participants

Bipasha Baruah, Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, Western University
“Social Innovation and Gender Equality in India: Moving Beyond the Numbers Game”

(Mohammad) Anwar Hossen, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Dhaka
“Village as the Model Organization for Sustainable Development in Bangladesh”

Yu Huang, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
“‘Get Organized!:’ Contradictions between Capital and Labor in a Nascent Shrimp Farmers’ Cooperative in South China”

Marguerite Mendell, Professor, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University and Gi Bin Hong, Karl Polanyi Institute
“Is the Social Economy the Seed of a New Economic Paradigm? Some Reflections”

Akihiro Ogawa, Professor of Japanese Studies, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne
“Lessons from Fukushima: A green economy built by social enterprises focused on renewable, sustainable energy”

Masanari Sakurai, Professer, College of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University
“Did Japanese social welfare NPOs fail? Some evaluation about emerging social enterprises and major transformation”

Ilcheong Yi, Research Coordinator, Social Policy and Inclusive Development, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
“Transformative interactions between social policy and SSEs in Developing Countries”

Call for Workshop Papers

The social economy refers to an economic activity of enterprises and organizations whose primary objectives are the creation of social values and the facilitation of solidarity rather than profit seeking and capital accumulation. In general, social economy organizations include cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, civic associations, foundations, social enterprises, community enterprises and so on. Recently, we have been witnessing a worldwide boom of this old but renewed concept. Various policies and institutions as well as creative and innovative business practices have been introduced. The UN designated the year 2012 as “The International Year of the Cooperatives” and encouraged every member state to facilitate effective institutionalization of the cooperatives. In 2013, UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations, including UNRISD, ILO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, OECD, established the “UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy,” aiming to raise awareness and support the policy environment of social economy. At the same time, research on the social economy is also in rapid progress, introducing or renewing such interesting concepts and theories as social innovation, civic entrepreneurship, shared values, corporate citizenship, co-production, and social eco-system.

Asia is no exception to this global rise of the social economy. The concept has been widely received and diverse policy fields throughout the region are undergoing institutional reforms. In China, the basic model of the provision of social welfare has shifted in the 2000s from the large-scale and unit-centered Danwei system to the community-centered Shequ system, resulting in a rapid increase of grass-root nonprofit organizations and residential groups. The government has also supported such national level events as the China Social Innovation Award and the China Poverty Eradication Award, through which creative and innovative ideas and business methods are learned and spread. The Japanese government consecutively presented new policy visions: “The New Public” in 2009, “The Mutual-help Society” in 2013, both of which emphasize the collaboration among non-profit, for-profit, and governmental organizations for realizing a more effective and sustainable welfare system. In South Korea, several laws have been established to qualitatively improve the social service system by reducing government expenditure and facilitating public-private collaboration. The Social Enterprise Promotion Act and the Framework Act on Cooperatives were enacted in 2006 and 2013 respectively, and a new comprehensive law for promoting the social economy was recently introduced and is being deliberated on in the National Assembly. In Thailand, the government set up the Thai Social Enterprise Office (TSEO) in 2010 to implement the Social Enterprises Master Plan (2010–14), which called for strengthening cooperation among social enterprises in Thailand and developing various support tools such as incubation system and social finance and investment. While the President’s Office of Singapore launched the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award in 2012 to honor outstanding social enterprises for their contributions to the local community. Recently, the government set up the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) in 2015 to bring together multiple stakeholders of the social enterprise sector.

This workshop aims to analyze the current status of social economy in Asia, where the traditional ‘Asian Capitalism’ and the state-led development model are in transition on the one hand and non-Western style models and practices of social economy are emerging on the other hand. The basic assumption is that social economy, with its virtues of creativity and hybridity, empathy and community, participation and solidarity, and new collaborative modes of governance, can help address various social problems and may provide a viable, alternative model of development in the region. This workshop calls for papers from various academic disciplines to understand the diverse and hybrid nature of the social economy. It also encourages the participation of practitioners with working knowledge and hands-on experience on the subject. It will also invite established scholars and experts on the Western models and practices of social economy, who can provide valuable comparative perspectives.

More specifically, this workshop anticipates paper presentations in following themes:

  • research on the conceptual or institutional development of the social economy in East Asia and Asia more broadly
  • in-depth case study of policies or practices of the social economy in various policy fields including social welfare, education, environment, energy, culture, and local community
  • exploration of new models or modes of Asian capitalism, governance, and/or civic participation in relation to the development of social economy