Call for papers

Call for papers


18th international conference of the Charles Gide Association

University of Lausanne, 10-12 September 2020

The 18th international conference of the Charles Gide Association will be held at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), 10-12 September 2020, under the auspices of the Centre Walras Pareto d’études interdisciplinaires de la pensée économique et politique (CWP). The theme of the conference will be on ‘Co-operation’.

‘Co-operation’, i.e. ‘acting hand-in-hand with someone else’ has been, for centuries, central to the way economic and political societies operate. The question of co-operation arises in the 1820s in a number of important and converging ways: in Robert Owen’s shadow it was understood as a way of organizing the economy in such a way that it was rooted in co-operative societies, which were constituted on the basis of collective decision making and an equitable distribution of wealth. From the 1820s onward, many thinkers who were influenced by Charles Gide’s ‘co-operativism’ (Devillers, 1998) and the Nîmes School considered the idea of co-operation to be at the centre of their reflections. This gave birth to numerous social and economic experiments. In the British case, these ranged from the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers to the Preston Model.

The topic of co-operation raises many questions, especially, for example, in relation to reciprocity and exchange, oscillates between distinct poles. As a ‘Third Sector’ (Hilson et al., 2017) it differs explicitly from capitalism, liberalism, and socialism. But the boundaries between co-operation and other political ideologies are far from being clearly demarcated – see Marx (1867) for a discussion on the relation between capitalism and co-operation. In a broad constellation of concepts, co-operation can be situated
next to ‘associationism’ and ‘mutualism’, and gave rise to a Theory of Commons (Ostrom, 1990), as well as a social-economy of solidarity. Situated between the spheres of individual actions and transactions and state intervention, it co-ordinates and orientates actors in the political and social spheres.

A number of economic theories today have developed out of the concept of co-operation. It can be deployed in game theory in order to account for modes of social organization (Von Neuman and Morgenstern, 1944, continued), shedding light on how social institutions, which are emerge out of competing private interests, might be made stable.
It is therefore worth studying co-operation’s theoretical foundations, its changing, and many meanings, the debates it has generated in the field of economic, social, political, and philosophical thought, and its numerous historical forms (Desroche, 1976).

Some of the issues raised by co-operation in various fields may provide for fruitful avenues of reflection:

  • How were social institutions designed to achieve co-operation and co-ordination theorised and established?
  • To what extent does the history of thought shed light on the reasons underlying individual and group co-operation?
  • Is co-operation the result of a political will to transform society, or, is it, more prosaically, a good way to do business?

Please note:

  • As in previous years, this Gide conference will also host papers on all topics related to the history of economic thought and philosophy of economics.
  • Proposals by doctoral students are highly encouraged as practical research workshops and sessions useful for the pursuit of their careers will be organised for the conference.

Call for papers (PDF)