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The Origins of Mondragon: Catholic Co-Operativism and Social Movement in a Basque Valley (1941-59)

Fernando Molina and Antonio Miguez
Social History
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Aug., 2008), pp. 284-298
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25594260
Page Count: 15
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The Origins of Mondragon: Catholic Co-Operativism and Social Movement in a Basque Valley (1941-59)
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Abstract

The Basque co-operatives of Mondragon were born at the crossroads of social Catholicism and economy, as an example of a utopian self-management society. The charismatic leadership of its founder, Jose María Arizmendiarrieta, a Basque priest, turned an industrial town into a successful essay in Catholic communitarianism. From the time of his arrival in Mondragon, in 1941, he applied his knowledge of social Catholicism and leadership, learned in the Seminary at Vitoria, to promote a social movement with an overwhelming religious reference. Arizmendiarrieta made a socialist reading of Catholicism as a source of values, beliefs and capacities for his co-operative project. As a result, co-operativism was born as an essay of a new Christianism committed to labour. Beyond the educative, industrial and financial dimensions, the Mondragon case can be read as a genuine social movement comprehensible under the resource mobilization theory and also as a consequence of social change in the authoritarian Spain of the 1950s and 1960s. Moreover, this article emphasizes the key social factors of this social phenomenon, in contrast to the ethnical reading of the international social research.

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