Historical Tensions, Institutionalization, and the Need for Multistakeholder Cooperatives
First paragraphs:In "Democratizing a Rural Economy," Mooney (2004) suggests that for future generations, social scientists may need to give some greater emphasis to bequeathing not only a sustainable environment, but also institutions that can set a forum for democratic struggle and voice. As economic entities, agricultural cooperatives may be among the few institutions in rural areas retaining a semblance of economic democratic governance. However, institutionalization processes have left many of these co-ops in a challenged position to sustain their own democratic ethos. The nature of these losses is difficult to understand without historical texture and outside a tension frame of reference. This essay will define co-op structure in a manner that specifies some of these tensions and their historical context and pressures, and make suggestions for a more inclusive and possibly more resilient cooperative alternative in the form of multistakeholder cooperatives. This latter organizational form may be able to set a community development template for addressing various social, economic, and ecological needs, with a more inclusive and hopefully enduring democratic organization....
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