Labour and working class journals, like virtually all parts of the academic world, have almost totally ignored co-operatives, co-operative thought, and the field of Co-operative Studies generally. This commentary, building on the essays in this issue, makes the case for encouraging such interests. It argues that, while ‘conventional’ history is useful for an understanding of co-operative organisations and the ‘co-operative experience’ generally, a satisfying approach must include insights and methodologies drawn from a wide range of disciplines as well as an engagement with people actively involved in co-operatives. It must also be international in perspective, employing comparative analysis in order to more fully appreciate the varieties and possibilities of co-operative activities in sustaining communities and expanding accountability. Australian researchers in the field can play an especially important role in this because of the special insights they have developed in some areas, notably central/local relationships and the process of demutualisation.