Co-operative Keywords – Call for Contributors

We are compiling a vocabulary of the keywords of co-operation in association with the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Our intention is to produce a work that will be of use to anyone with an interest in co-operatives, whether they are members of an established cooperative, thinking of setting up a co-operative, or academic researchers studying the co-operative movement.

Keywords can be defined as words that are particularly significant in relation to a specific activity or discipline – they play a key role in discussions or deliberations relating to that activity or discipline. But often they are more than that: they are also words that carry several senses, between which there are family resemblances but which nevertheless conflict in more or less obvious ways. These variations of meanings are both historic and concurrent. In addition to providing definitions of key words, the entries in Co-operative Keywords will chart the shifting ideas and values that are captured in the various uses and meanings attributed to words that are central to any discussion of cooperation. In this sense, the Co-operative Keywords will be an inquiry into the social and intellectual issues sedimented in those terms.

We would like the Co-operative Keywords to be the product of cooperative research, and so we are inviting people to write entries for the words we have identified. We envisage the work taking two forms. There will be an online version, comprising abridged entries for the keywords, which would provide guidance and information for anyone seeking to understand the meaning of a term, expounding the range of senses that the word has or has had, and giving a brief account of the key historical use or uses of that term. We also want to produce a hardcopy version of the Keywords, which would contain longer entries for the terms, looking in more detail at the historical transformations of sense and use of the terms that have come to shape the current meanings of the keywords.

If you would like to write an entry for one or more of the entries we have listed, please contact either Keith Crome ( or Patrick O’Connor (, identifying the word (or words) for which you would be able to provide a definition. We will provide you with a sample definition and a style sheet. The editors will read all prospective entries. If an entry is accepted it is on provision that it is still subject to editorial change (although we would discuss any changes with you). We will acknowledge authorship of individual entries, but the hardcopy will published under the editorship of Keith and Patrick. Any royalties from sales of the hardcopy will be given to the Co-operative College.

Click HERE to see the list of key words and HERE to see an example entry.

The list of keywords we have drawn up is a reflection of our concerns and interests, and whilst we hope that there are good grounds for the inclusion of all the terms we have selected, we may have omitted some that others think should be included. If you have a suggestion for a word we haven’t included please do let us know.

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