Making space for sharing in the global market: the Focolare Movement's Economy of Sharing

Gold, Lorna (2000) Making space for sharing in the global market: the Focolare Movement's Economy of Sharing. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (28MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


The thesis argues that insights into global economic alternatives can be gained from examining existing global cultures which are in contrast to the market. Religious movements form one of the most ancient, but also one of the most enduring and controversial examples of such global cultures. Such movements, it is argued, could be one possible source, not only of localised alternatives to the dominant capitalist regime, but of emerging global alternative economic geographies. Through ethnographic research, the various geographies of one such emerging global socio-religious movement, the Focolare, are examined in depth. It is argued that this movement offers a social vision, rooted in the idea of a Trinitarian perspective, which therein contains concepts of economic life and its relationship to other dimensions of human existence not present within contemporary economic discourses.

The thesis considers, in particular, the emergence of a global 'economic' project, the Economy of Sharing, which grew from within the Focolare Movement in 1991. It first explores the evolution of the Economy of Sharing, providing a statistical overview of the main contours of the project. It also examines the various local, regional and global organisational structures which form the institutional dimension of the project. The implementation of the Economy of Sharing is then examined at a local level in the social, cultural and economic geographies of two contrasting regions: Sao Paulo in Brazil and Milan in Italy. The different spaces in which the Economy of Sharing is applied are then examined in turn. In successive chapters, the spaces of sharing of the Economy of Sharing are opened out, from the local to the global, examining the new possibilities and conflicts which arise through the application of the Focolare's ethos at these different scales. The thesis concludes by asking what could be the wider implications of this economic and social experiment. In a series of more theoretical reflections, three inter-linking themes with particular geographical pertinence are re-examined in the light of the empirical research: the relationships between the cultural and the economic, the economic as networks, and the question of care for distant strangers. The possible futures of the Economy of Sharing are explored and the potential of the concept to solve the pressing global problem of the distribution of wealth are

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Lowder, Stella and Philo, Chris
Date of Award: 2000
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2000-1110
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year