Evolving Concepts and Processes
Edited by Odd Jarl Borch, Alain Fayolle, Paula Kyrö and Elisabet Ljunggren
Chapter 7: Structuring the Field of Social Entrepreneurship: A Transatlantic Comparative Approach
1 Sophie Bacq and Frank Janssen INTRODUCTION During recent years, social entrepreneurship has been receiving greater recognition from the public sector, as well as from scholars (Stryjan, 2006; Weerawardena and Sullivan Mort, 2006). Encouraging social initiatives has been on our governments’ agenda for a while. European policy makers claim the importance of social enterprises as ‘they not only are significant economic actors, but also play a key role in involving citizens more fully in Society and in the creation and reproduction of social capital, by organizing, for example, opportunities for volunteering’ (European Commission, 2003). Consequently, several European states have created specific legal forms for this kind of initiatives. On the other hand, famous business schools all around the world have created centres for research and education programmes in social entrepreneurship. So far, academic research in social entrepreneurship ‘has largely been focused on defining what it is and what it does, and does not, have in common with commercial entrepreneurship’ (Nicholls, 2008: 7). No doubt that this growing interest toward social entrepreneurship partly results from its innovativeness in treating social problems that are becoming more and more complex (Johnson, 2000; Thompson et al., 2000). Some academic scholars see it as a way of creating community wealth (Wallace, 1999) while others consider it as a means to relieve our modern society from its illnesses (Thompson et al., 2000), such as unemployment, inequalities in the access to health care and social services (Catford, 1998), squalor, poverty, crime, privation or social exclusion (Blackburn and...
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