The world faces multiple and simultaneous crises, and many displaced peoples and communities have to re-build their lives. Like some of you or your parents and grandparents, I came to this country escaping political violence. In my case, it with the war with Shining Path in my native Peru. The experience has shaped my research. Despite the stress and disruption, there is something precious that displacement or forms of assimilation didn't take from me: my learnings from growing up in Peru, working in a mental hospital in a shantytown, then as a journalist in the Andes and an anthropologist on development projects among the Indigenous and rural poor.
From the time I began working in the Andes of Peru, I was captivated by the ability of disadvantaged communities to mobilize the resources in their environment and culture to meet the adversities they faced and create community well-being. I came to recognize this as a distinct form of ‘enterprise.’ For thirty years, I have been fascinated by urban and rural communities in the global south and global north that are not waiting for imported solutions but building their own alternative paths building on their own social, cultural and spiritual practices. This opens the way for a different kind of ‘development’ or ‘enterprise.’ The trick is to take off your standard management lenses to have a fresh view of what is going on.
In a search over the years for means of poverty alleviation and social justice, I have engaged with diverse collectives and continue to learn about the role of cooperation, reciprocity, solidarity in social transformation. Navigating the lines of activism and research is not always easy. I will share my reflections and where I am and where I am going.
Ana María Peredo is a Professor of Social and Inclusive Entrepreneurship at the Telfer School of Management. She is also a Professor (on leave) of Political Ecology at the School of Environmental Studies and was also Director of the Centre for Co-operative and Community-Based Economy at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Dr. Peredo’s work has contributed to understanding the ways communities can address poverty by constructing rewarding and sustainable livelihoods out of resources in their distinctive cultures and environments. She draws on her academic training in Anthropology and Management and extensive experience in the Andes of her native Peru to explore alternative economies and their impact on the social and environmental aspects of community.
Ana Maria has published several seminal pieces on community-based enterprises, Indigenous entrepreneurship, social enterprises, and solidarity economy. Her work has been published in journals such as the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice, Organization, World Development, Journal of Peasant Studies, and several other prominent journals and foundational anthologies.
She has received a number of awards and fellowships and serves on several academic and professional boards. Currently, she is the Associate Editor of Organization, Co-Coordinator of the European Group for Organizational Studies’ Standing Working Group on Organization Studies in the Anthropocene and Past President of the Western Academy of Management.