The article here presented offers an analysis of Solidarity Purchasing Groups under the frame of the social innovation debate. By relying on two main axes of analysis that take into account the features of the territory in which the activities of the groups are embedded (economic vulnerability and density), it investigates how networks, institutions and cognitive frames – as theorised by Beckert (2010) – are effective in reducing the economic marginalisation of the beneficiaries of their activities, identified by small family farmers. The empirical investigation is based on 35 semi-structured interviews (completed by short organisational questionnaires) that investigate solidarity purchasing groups as organisations, focusing on their activities in favour of their suppliers. Results show that groups are rarely oriented towards local communities and their activities only rarely succeed in involving systematically their suppliers in the activities of the group.
Keywords: Solidarity purchasing groups; Marginalisation; Political consumerism; Social innovation.