Daring to Conceptualize the Black Social Economy

  • Caroline Shenaz Hossein
Part of the Perspectives from Social Economics book series (PSE)


All of the cases under study—from Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as North America—have horrific legacies of enslavement, colonization, and racism, and the cases will be used to discuss how Black people have contributed to the social amelioration of their communities through social-purpose businesses, which strive to reach both social and economic objectives. The Black social economy is taking place all over the Americas and is proving to be a viable alternative to extreme forms of capitalism. Brazil, with one of the largest Black diaspora populations in the world, has the legacy of Quilombos (cooperatives run by Afro-Brazilians) to retain their African cultural heritage and to have sustainable economic livelihoods. Caribbean women in Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago organize economic cooperatives to support businesses and local projects. In Latin America, the experiences of Afro-Argentines and Afro-Colombians are lesser known cases but nonetheless have a rich history of cultivating community economies to preserve their own culture in the face of business and social exclusion. The story would not be complete without the study of the Black diaspora in the USA and Canada who encounter many forms of violence in the society. African-Americans have always had mutual-aid societies as a way to cope in a hostile environment. In Canada, newcomers from Africa and the Caribbean hold onto informal money collectives as a way to preserve their heritage and to deal with business exclusion. As explained, this work contributes to the global conversation on alternative social practices that empower traditionally marginalized social groups.

Works Cited

  1. Amin, Ash, ed. 2009. The Social Economy: International Perspectives on Economic Solidarity. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  2. Bridge, S., B. Murtagh, and K. O’Neil. 2009. Understanding the Social Economy and the Third Sector. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Delvetere, Patrick. 1993. Cooperative Movements in the Developing Countries: Old and New Orientations. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics 64 (2): 179–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Du Bois, W.E.B. 1903. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Signet Classic.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1907. Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans. Atlanta: The Atlanta University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fatton, Robert. 2002. Haiti’s Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2007. The Roots of Haitian Despotism. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  9. Gibson-Graham, J.K. 1996. The End of Capitalism (as We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2006. A Postcapitalist Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gordon Nembhard, Jessica. 2014. Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. University Park: Penn State University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hossein, Caroline Shenaz. 2016. Politicized Microfinance: Money, Power and Violence in the Black Americas. Toronto: University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  13. K’nife, K’adamwe, Allan Bernard, and Edward Dixon. 2011. Marcus Garvey the Entrepreneur? Insights for Stimulating Entrepreneurship in Developing Nations. Journal of Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey, 76 King Street 2: 37–59.Google Scholar
  14. Martin, Tony. 1983. Marcus Garvey, Hero: A First Biography. Dover: Majority Press.Google Scholar
  15. Montasse, Emmanuel. 1983. La gestion strategique dans le cadre du développement d’Haiti au moyen de la coopérative, caisse d’epargne et de credit. Port-au-Prince, Haiti: IAGHEI, UEH.Google Scholar
  16. Mook, Laurie, John R. Whitman, Jack Quarter, and Ann Armstrong. 2015. Understanding the Social Economy of the United States. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  17. Quarter, Jack, Laurie Mook, and Ann Armstrong. 2009. Understanding the Social Economy: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  18. Rodney, Walter. 1982. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, DC: Howard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Shragge, Eric, and Jean-Marc Fontan. 2000. Social Economy: International Debates and Perspectives. Montreal: Black Rose Books.Google Scholar
  20. St. Pierre, Maurice. 1999. Anatomy of Resistance: Anticolonialism in Guyana 1823–1966. London: Macmillan Education.Google Scholar
  21. Washington, Booker T. 1901/2013. Up from Slavery. Delhi: Ratna Sagar P. Ltd..Google Scholar
  22. Williams, E. 1944 [2004]. Capitalism & Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  23. Witter, Michael. 1989. Higglering/Sidewalk Vending Informal Commercial Trading in Jamaican Economy, Occasional Paper Series, No. 4. Mona, Jamaica: Department of Economics, University of West Indies.Google Scholar
  24. Wuttunee, Wanda. 2004. Living Rhythms: Lessons in Aboriginal Economic Resilience and Vision. Kingston: McGill Queens University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Shenaz Hossein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social ScienceYork UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations