An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

Voices, Preconditions, Contexts

Edited by Rafeal Ziegler

This timely book sets social entrepreneurship in a historical context, from its philanthropic beginnings in the Victorian era to the present day, against the backdrop of contemporary global capitalism.

Chapter 9: New Heroes, Old Theories? Toward a Sociological Perspective on Social Entrepreneurship

Ion Bogdan Vasi

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


Ion Bogdan Vasi INTRODUCTION 9.1 The concept of social entrepreneurship has received growing attention in the mass media over the recent years. At the beginning of the 1990s hardly any articles in US newspapers mentioned social entrepreneurship; by 2000 almost 40 articles mentioned this concept, and by 2007 more than 150 articles did so. Similarly, the number of articles dedicated to social entrepreneurship in major, world newspapers has increased exponentially. In 1995 fewer than 20 articles discussed social entrepreneurship in Englishlanguage world newspapers; by 2000 that number increased to over 70, and by 2007 to over 300.1 Television has also recently become interested in social entrepreneurship: for example, in 2005 the Public Broadcasting Service has aired a four-hour series on social entrepreneurs, hosted by Robert Redford and having the title ‘The New Heroes’. Social entrepreneurship has become an increasingly popular topic in some academic environments as well. More and more business schools have established research centres and now offer courses on social entrepreneurship.2 Columbia University, for example, was one of the first to create a Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship in early 2002 with the declared mission ‘to study and disseminate knowledge about the markets, metrics and management of for-profit and non-profit social enterprise and social venturing’.3 A recent survey of business schools in the United States has found that the percentage of schools that require students to take a course on business and society issues has increased from 34 per cent in 2001 to 63 per...

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