CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

1In the letter to readers written on September 1, 1921, launching the first issue of our journal, the small group that created the REC—later to become RECMA—introduced itself as follows: “Before the war, we formed a small group of friends—some of us cooperative activists, others teachers, in some cases a blend of both—united by shared democratic beliefs and scientific habits. […] The journal we are presenting to the public was born from a desire for intellectual mutual aid and, dare we say it, a sense of duty imposed upon us by conscience.” [1]

2Now on its 360th issue, RECMA has shown true lasting power thanks to the defining principles it was founded on: scientific rigor and commitment.

3In their article entitled “Public financing for associations and the gender wage gap: A new hope for equality in the workplace?” Lionel Prouteau and Viviane Tchernonog point out that an increase in public financing correlates with a reduction in the gender wage gap. The authors analyze this gap, first considering qualification levels based on socioprofessional categories, and then comparing sectors of activity. They go on to elucidate the different factors that may cause the gender wage gap to vary. Not only does the study yield highly insightful results, but it also demonstrates the fertility of the field and the approach taken.

4Élodie Ros, Lamia Bouadi, and Carole Brunet study “new ways to anchor the social and solidarity economy in French universities.” This is an important matter because, until the dawn of this century, there was a severe shortage of SSE courses at university level in France. The authors demonstrate the potential of this development by outlining the Coop’en 8 initiative, led by Université Paris-8’s general information, guidance, and professional development service (Scuio-IP). This initiative was “the first temporary student cooperative implemented within a French university.”

5Yves Cariou offers us an unprecedented analysis of Henri Desroche’s now famous quadrilateral schema applied to SSE companies. Desroche wrote that this quadrilateral is “tense” and must be “animated.” Based on a set of analyses of associations, cooperative and participatory societies (SCOPs), business and employment cooperatives (CAEs), and collective interest cooperative societies (SCICs), Cariou outlines the creativity and dynamism that underpin the tensions between the various projects and categories of populations... and the conditions required to prevent such tensions from becoming “dissonances.” What makes the article particularly compelling is its relevance both to practitioners, who can make use of its conclusions, and to SSE theorists, through its study of cooperative practices.

6Djaoudath Alidou’s article on village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) sets out the importance of this type of microfinancing. It is estimated that such funds allow five million African women to access loans without recourse to banks. By analyzing how one of these associations operates, the author pinpoints the keys to their success. Among these feature “a number of principles. The organizations involved are autonomous and self-managed on the basis of relatively short cycles (nine to twelve months). They are independent from banks, both financially and institutionally. They are composed of fifteen to twenty-five self-selected members: a number large enough to provide a good reserve of capital and small enough to retain proper management in meetings.”

7Quentin Chapus examines the role of social entrepreneurship in Morocco, proposing to shift the theoretical debate toward the analysis of practices. While Moroccan social entrepreneurs, like those anywhere else, are inspired by capitalist enterprise associated with the image of performance, the specific context they operate in—the Moroccan state, associations, cooperatives, and SSE—allows the author to put forward a nuanced interpretation of the role these entrepreneurs play in society: “Where, in other places, some consider social entrepreneurship a threat, it could just as easily be viewed here as an opportunity for a sector that lacks visibility and resources.”

8In his article entitled “The popular education movement, between social innovation and financial innovation: A study of social center federations,” André Decamp shows precisely how social centers “seem to be caught in a vice” between new forms of public policy and the modalities of action, particularly competition. Decamp argues that new spaces for reflection and collaboration should be opened in order to renew the popular education project and to spark innovative forms of action in social centers.

9In an article entitled “The example of the employer-employee joint committee of the Confédération paysanne,” Simon Cottin-Marx examines the situation of the employees of small associations in France. There are about 190,000 such employees in France, and they tend to receive no help in defending their rights. Employers, for their part, are rarely trained or supported in conflict management. To reduce the waste this engenders in terms of human resources, the Confédération paysanne set up a joint committee that acts under the framework of its collective agreement to serve around a hundred small employers.

10A scientific and committed journal from the very beginning, the REC has kept its principles intact throughout what has been a tumultuous century. The next issue, out in July, will cast the spotlight on the REC’s fascinating history. We hope it will inspire our readers to discover back issues [2] and that it will help guide editors’ footsteps for years to come.


Jean-François Draperi
Uploaded on on 04/05/2021
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