Original Articles

Responding to the crisis: food co-operatives and the solidarity economy in Greece

Published in: Anthropology Southern Africa
Volume 36, issue 3-4, 2013 , pages: 102–107
DOI: 10.1080/02580144.2013.10887033
Author(s): Theodoros RakopoulosThe Human Economy Project, Faculty of Humanities, South Africa

Abstract

This article discusses a case of popular social response to imposed austerity and recession in Greece. It focuses on the antimiddleman movement in an Athens suburb. It also addresses the broader picture of the current Greek crisis, explaining how participants in this grassroots response extend their activity beyond food distribution, beginning to imagine modes of economic conduct and interaction different from those currently dominant in Greece. I explore their efforts to turn the food market they have established in Athens into a formal co-operative which links consumers in their neighbourhood directly to selected farmers through bonds of solidarity, and to work with others to create a network of similar co-operatives which will span the whole country. I argue that their endeavours strongly resemble the co-operativism and practical socialism advocated by important social theorists such as Mauss and Polanyi, and suggest that it may be important for the young activists in Athens to learn more about their ideas.

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