Network A: Community, Democracy, and Organizations

This network focuses on the moral or values-based underpinnings of human thought, practices, and institutions that comprise civil societies, particularly as they relate to the participatory, collectivist, and democratic aspirations of organizations, markets, and other spaces of collaboration and contestation. We examine how communities, enterprises, and societies can be organized around principles of democratic governance or other substantive values that go beyond calculative self-interest and instrumental relations. We welcome studies of activities coordinated through formal organizations, informal groups, decentralized projects, or participatory decision-making. While our network supports research on how such collectivities may reinforce prevailing conventions of hierarchical, bureaucratic, and profit-driven organizational structures and markets, we also seek to cultivate scholarship on groups and initiatives that promote change, including explicitly transformative or prefigurative organizations and various forms of collaborative or shared ownership. For instance, individual and panel submissions could examine: how values-based practices and relations promote more inclusive, liberatory, democratic, equitable, or caring communities; how such forms influence work, family, and community life and shape fundamental understandings and imaginaries regarding how economies and polities are constituted; and how state policies and cultural and market pressures affect these collectivities.


Examples of relevant phenomena include, but are not limited to: affinity groups; anti-oppressive human services; artistic or cultural collectives (including democratic governance and autonomy-respecting practices in creative organizations more broadly); collectively governed commons; community land trusts; community real estate investment cooperatives; community-based economic exchanges; community-run marketplaces; decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs); free schools; giving circles; limited equity housing cooperatives and co-housing; mutual companies and aid networks; open, commons-based, and inclusive innovation and valuation frameworks; participatory budgeting; public-private partnerships; social enterprises; solidarity economies; and worker, producer, or consumer cooperatives, including platform cooperatives.


One of SASE’s original networks, Network A was founded by Amitai Etzioni and was previously named “Communitarian Ideals and Civil Society.” The earlier network focused on the theme of communitarianism: how people, organizations, and institutions exercise social responsibilities based on shared values. In 2021, Network A added a sub-track called “Emergent Organizations: Creating More Participatory, Inclusive, and Caring Civil Societies and Social Economies.” A year later, this sub-track was officially incorporated within the network, which was renamed “Community, Democracy, and Organizations.”


Network A has a moderated email list where you can stay connected with other people who work on these issues and share any news of relevant publications, research in progress, events, and opportunities. You can sign up for the listserv here:


For questions about in-person sessions at SASE 2023 in Brazil, please contact:    


For questions about virtual sessions that will be held online shortly before SASE 2023 in Brazil, please contact:



civil society, collectivist-democratic organizations, cooperatives, participatory democracy, participatory organizations