Conference: Mainstreaming Cooperation – An Alternative for the 21st Century?

3rd Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Manchester and Rochdale

The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Co‑operatives. In celebration, this major international forum will discuss how co-operatives in every sphere of social, economic, political and cultural life can emerge globally in the coming century as a participatory, democratic alternative to competitive, private, profit-driven, liberal market democracies.

The Co‑operative College, University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University and the University of Central Lancashire are organising this major interdisciplinary conference, with support from the Co-operative Group.

The conference will be of interest to co‑operative members and employees, interested members of the public, public sector professionals, the voluntary sector, community activists and educationalists as well as researchers and academics in business studies, community, economics, education, health, history, political science, and sociology. It will explore the major contributions that a renewed vision and practice of co-operative forms of organisation can make to people everywhere, in their everyday lives, asking:

  • What would a renewed vision of co-operation for the 21st century, grounded in the creativity, energy and hopes of the people for a better life look like?
  • Can it provide an alternative economic model to neo-liberal markets founded on competition and the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the few?
  • Can it renew and enrich democratic practice locally, nationally and globally by grounding decision making in the voices of the many?
  • And can it overcome the deep social, political and economic injustices within and between nations?

The UN Year of Co‑operatives is an important milestone in the recognition of co‑operation as a global alternative to unfettered, profit-driven private capitalism. The scope for extending the role of the co-operative, together with a vision for co‑operatives to lead the way in raising people out of poverty everywhere, is at the heart of the UN’s decision to place co‑operation at the centre of planning for the future.

Call for Papers

View the call for papers >>

The closing date for receipt of proposals is Friday 14th January 2012.

Further Information

All proposals and queries regarding the conference should be sent to