The project studies processes of local society-building and local development and the emergence and maintenance of local networks at the interfaces between local/civil society, local government (the local state) and the local economy, in the context of changing institutional regimes. The prime focus is on the construction and renewal of trust relations between actors in the local community through common ventures in the entrepreneurial or the social field and the transfer and transformation of resources in such ventures. Indirectly, the studies highlight the entrepreneurial aspects of network-construction, and the impact of social entrepreneurship in the creation of social infrastructures and social capital.
The Swedish studies focus on (a) the formation and operation of social enterprises, in particular social cooperatives (data collection coordinated with the country study within the European research project PERSE). Such enterprises are commonly embedded on one side in a complex mesh of local government, health- social security and mental health-care organs, that together constitute the Swedish ‘public sector’ and the local community, and local associations on the other; on (b) the emergence of the network of cooperative development agencies (CDAs/LKUs) in Sweden and on (c) the charting of similar initiatives in Poland. (d) Ongoing studies (that are likely to evolve into R&D work at the project’s completion) focus on emerging cooperation between FKU, the Swedish federation of CDAs and Polish actors, and on the potential for adopting the Swedish model of development centres to the Polish context.
Cooperation: the project has important interfaces with the Öst program Entrepreneurship and Small Business, and the European Research Program PERSE, and with the EMES research network. Material collection and theory development also involved cooperation with the university of Lódz, and with the social policy research group at the Polish Academy of Sciences PAN.