Community-led Initiatives and the Social Solidarity Economy

CEI researcher Ana Margarida Esteves co-authored the article “Community-led Initiatives and the Social Solidarity Economy: Commons Ecologies for Delivering and Re-Imagining the Sustainable Development Goals“, published by the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE), alongside Thomas Henfrey, May East, Audley Genus, and Gil Penha-Lopes.

The draft paper was prepared in response to the UNTFSSE Call for Papers 2018 “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?”


This paper examines how community-led initiatives are deploying social solidarity economy in distinctive ways as a vehicle for local action consistent with delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. It employs the concept of commons ecologies to capture how such activities restructure relationships and interactions among SSE actors and organisations. Such interactions characterise both local and regional commons ecologies and participation of local and regional actors in wider networks at national, international and global levels. Case studies from UK, Portugal, Brazil and Senegal each illuminate different qualities of local/regional commons ecologies and their forms of engagement with wider networks. In each case, SSE acts as a vehicle for expressing participants’ values and principles consistent with those underlying the SDGs. Local implementation of SDGs is thus an inbuilt feature of these commons ecologies. Their participation in international and global networks offers opportunities for more mainstream processes to learn from local level experiences and successes, potentially strengthening SDG implementation more generally.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash (cropped)

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Ana Margarida Esteves

Ana Margarida Esteves is a Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies of the University Institute of Lisbon, Iscte and Guest Assistant Professor of the Department of Political Economy of the same institution. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University (Providence, RI, USA) where she was a Fulbright Fellow. Her research and teaching encompass the relations between the social and solidarity economy, the commons and the sustainability transition movements; synergies between nature, culture and technology; and the application of critical pedagogies, as well as strategies of non-formal education, to social mobilization and the promotion of participatory democracy. She is a founder and member of the International Editorial Committee of the journal "Interface: A journal for and about social movements" ( She is also a member the RC47: Social Classes and Social Movements of ISA - International Sociological Association and part of its editorial platform Open Movements / Open Democracy ( ). In 2020, Ana Margarida became a member of SEADS (Space Ecologies Art and Design), a transdisciplinary and cross-cultural collective of artists, scientists, engineers and activists that is actively engaged in deconstructing dominant paradigms about the future and develops alternative models through a combination of critical inquiry and hands-on experimentation.". Previous to joining CEI-IUL, Ana Margarida Esteves held teaching positions at Brown University, Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil), Tulane University (New Orleans, USA) and Sunway University (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). She is a Visiting Research Fellow at Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) and Scuola Normale Superiore (Florence, Italy).

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