SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, INNOVATION, AND GOVERNANCE: THE CASE OF THE ECONOMY OF COMMUNION IN ITALY

  • Luca Ozzano University of Turin, Italy

Abstract

The Economy of Communion (EoC) movement is one of the most interesting phenomena both in today’s Catholicism and in the global field of spiritually oriented entrepreneurship. This model – first elaborated by the founder of the Focolare movement, Chiara Lubich – is focused on a ‘culture of giving’; on the development of a relation of ‘communion’ with employees, customers and even competitors; on transparency and fairness; and on environmental sustainability. Although grounded in the Gospel and the Catholic Church’s social doctrine, it is meant as a business model which can be adopted also by people belonging to other religious traditions, and even by non-believers. This paper, based on interviews to people involved in the EoC movement and on other primary and secondary sources, will analyse the movement in Italy, focusing on a side understudied by the literature: the complex web of organizations which provide it with a structure and a governance. Particularly, the paper will show how such organizations try to strike a balance between preserving the movement’s identity and Chiara Lubich’s message, and spreading the EoC model by trying to make it popular, also outside the Focolare movement.

Keywords: Economy of Communion, Focolare movement, Catholicism, religion and economy, spiritually oriented entrepreneurship, Italy

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Published
2019-11-11