Social Entrepreneurship
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Social Entrepreneurship

An Affirmative Critique

Edited by Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert

Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert provide a timely critique on the idea of social entrepreneurship and its reputation as a means for positive social change. The book uses different traditions and modes of critique to interrogate, disrupt and reimagine the concept of social entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 6: Myth in social entrepreneurship research: an inquiry into rationalist, ideological and dialectic practices of demystification

Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert


In this chapter we make two contributions. The first consists of distinguishing three understandings of myth – myth as false explanation, myth as ideology, and myth as dialectic potential – which open up different, and partly complementary, possibilities for demystifying social entrepreneurship. To substantiate these theoretical distinctions, we review how these practices of demystification have been applied in the (critical) literature on social entrepreneurship. Our second objective is to stimulate the conceptual expansion of the third and least developed strategy of demystification, which we call ‘demystification from below’. To do so, we offer an empirical illustration to expound its workings. To conclude, we argue that the imperative of constant re-invention is due to the ever-present possibility that demystification becomes neutralized to the point where it becomes a mere cliché of its initial promise.

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