While research focused on the social economy as a distinctive analytic concept remains relatively sparse, it is important to recognize an emerging body of interdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to develop and apply related concepts, theories and empirical questions to an array of challenges facing local communities. The following subject areas encapsulate cross cutting research interests and concerns among both academics and practitioners:
- conceptualizing social enterprises and the social economy
- globalization and institutional diversity
- sustainability and environmental justice
- social welfare and economic justice
- community development and social justice
- governance and participatory democracy
Though neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive, these research areas and the specific works cited within each area provide a useful introduction for those seeking to explore the empirical and analytical underpinnings of the social economy in theory and action.