Based on ethnographic research conducted in Nicaragua in 2007 during the early phases of the building of an industrial cotton spinning cooperative called Génesis, this article recounts an implementation of the Organization Workshop (OW), a large-scale enterprise-building and employment-generation workshop based on the ideas of Brazilian scholar-activists Clodomir Santos de Morais and Paulo Freire. The story of the Génesis OW, however, is not one of success. In fact, following the 40-day “conscientization” workshop, the cooperative entered into a period of upheaval, ultimately leading to the ousting of the cooperative's leadership. As a way of explaining some of the unexpected consequences of the OW, I point to the disjuncture between the actually existing social and organizational dynamics of Génesis before the implementation of the OW and the OW's model for them.
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