Solidarity Economy Divided: A Philadelphia Case Study

Craig Borowiak
Stephen Healy
Marianna Pavlovskaya
Maliha Safri

In debates over post-capitalist politics, growing attention has been paid to the solidarity economy (SE), a framework that draws together diverse practices ranging from co-ops to community gardens. Despite proponents’ commitment to inclusion, racial and class divides suffuse the SE movement. Using qualitative fieldwork and an original SE dataset, this article examines the geospatial composition of the SE within the segregated geography of Philadelphia. We find that though the SE as a whole is widely distributed across the city, it is, with the exception of community gardens, largely absent from poor neighborhoods of color. We also identify SE clusters in racially and economically diverse border areas rather than in predominantly affluent White neighborhoods. Such findings complicate claims about the SE’s emancipatory potential and underscore the need for its realignment towards people of color and the poor. We conclude with examples of how the SE might more fully address racial injustice.

Suggested citation

Borowiak, Craig, Maliha Safri, Stephen Healy, and Marianna Pavlovskaya. "Navigating the Fault Lines: Race and Class in Philadelphia's Solidarity Economy." Antipode (2017).