All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Chris Kyle

Advisory Committee Members

Elizabeth Hoffman

Peter Verbeek

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


While there is a growing body of literature on the subject of worker cooperatives in the field of economics that compares them to conventional capitalist firms, there has been little literature to date looking at lives of the workers within these enterprises. This study investigates the self-stated reasons for why worker-owners of worker cooperative firms chose this form of employment. In unstructured interviews, a sample of thirty-seven current and former worker-owners were asked why they chose to become worker cooperatives members. The responses are grouped into three categories based on their self-reported motivations: Idealists, Economists, and Drifters. Implications for future research into the anthropology of cooperatives are discussed.