chapter  4
10 Pages

The French Business and Employment Cooperative

An autonomy factory?
ByMarie-Christine Bureau, Antonella Corsani

In the mid-1990s, a new concept of cooperative was developed in France, the Business and Employment Cooperative (BEC). BEC are developing in the wake of neoliberal employment policies and contribute to a new form of government, but they also constitute a political laboratory for experimentation and institutional innovation so as to prefigure a new horizon of emancipation beyond salaried work and individual entrepreneurship. As a political laboratory, BECs also hijack neoliberal techniques and produce other collective subjectivities, against the mainstream logic of individualization. The BECs developed thus on a razor's edge, between the implementation of neoliberal policies and criticism by cooperative practice, at the crossroads of two different perspectives. Coopaname is a political enterprise, in the sense that it is an institutional fabric. The institutional fabric requires both an imaginary and a means of action. It is an intense work of language and thought, as well as a struggle for new rights.