Social and Solidarity Economy, Urban Communities and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Project Description

Since 2008, the European Union has become synonymous with crises: the economic crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and finally the refugee crisis. As a result of the financial crises and ensuing cuts in social spending, European societies further witnessed the weakening of solidarity policies for the social protection of the unemployed native-born, the migrants, and the newly arrived refugees. At the same time a rise in xenophobia and populist politics that blamed migrants and refugees for the economic upheavals and the struggle of the local communities could be observed. Against this background, this research project aims to examine how the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) can effectively contribute to building solidarity, protecting and integrating refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born within local communities and into labour markets, and what enabling policy environments are required. The potentials, challenges and tensions involved in this regard within a context of austerity and welfare retrenchment, growing xenophobia and populist politics will also be assessed. The research aims at generating evidence and policy suggestions to maximize the potential of SSE actors to integrate refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born at local level, and to create spaces and relationships of solidarity in times of controversy. Three localities will be examined as case studies: Geneva (Switzerland), Bergamo (Italy), and Heraklion (Greece). Ultimately, the project’s comparative findings will inform scholarly and policy debates, by providing concrete recommendations on the SSE potential for addressing vulnerable groups in highly contentious times.

To know more: Final report

SNIS website:

Team Information

Coordinator: Marco Giugni, University of Geneva

Co-coordinators: Florence Passy, University of Lausanne and Maria Mexi, University of Geneva

Research team:

Chiara Aurora Demaldè, University of Trento

Katia Pilati, Università degli studi di Trento

Ibrahim Saïd, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

Francesca Forno, University of Trento



Dataset 1: Interviews with Social and Solidarity Economy Organizations (SSEOs)

 Spatial Coverage: Bergamo (Italy), Geneva (Switzerland), Heraklion (Greece)

Time Method: cross-sectional

Analysis Unit: organizations

Universe: all SSEOs in the three municipalities

Mode of Data Collection: Standardized interviews

Data Collection Instruments: Questionnaire

Sampling Description: In order to be included in our mapping, SSEOs had to fulfil three main criteria: (1) produce some goods and/or services; have explicit social objectives; and (2) be guided by principles and practices of cooperation, solidarity, ethics and democratic self-management. In Bergamo, we selected 67 organizations following our research criteria, and 58 of them answered the organizational questionnaire. Interviews were conducted face-to-face and by mail (electronic or by post). In Geneva, the sampling process has two steps. First, we based our research on previous samplings (LIVEWHAT, TRANSSOL). All organizations fitting the definition were selected (77 organizations). During the face-to-face interviews (44), some other relevant organizations were mentioned by the interviewees (16). Therefore, they were included for a second step: we contacted by mail these 16 new organizations. We interviewed a total of 60 organizations. In Heraklion, the mapping list consisted of 46 SSE entities that met the mapping criteria. Interviews were conducted with 38 of them.

 How to Get the Data? To access the dataset, click here.

How to Cite? 


Selected Publications

 Loukakis, A., Kalogeraki, S & Kokkinou, Ch. 'A Mixed Method Approach on Social and Solidarity Economy in Urban Greece'15th ECPR General Virtual Conference (30 August-3 September 2021).

 Demalde, Ch., Kokkinou, Ch. Fernandez G.G., E. & Pilati, K. 'Networks of solidarity during the Great Recession'14th ECPR General Conference. (26-28 August 2020).