The focus of this chapter is to examine to what degree, in the context of transitional or authoritarian political regimes, social enterprise might lead to democratization of (civil) society more broadly. The literature suggests that we might expect social enterprises to have limited independence in such a context; thus, the best we might hope for is to encourage social enterprises to provide meaningful participation and identification with others—the minimum necessary to resist authoritarianism and lead to democratization. Theories and empirical evidence is limited mostly to western, democratic countries, but suggests that social enterprises may be able to do this to some degree if they emphasize their sociality or relational and emancipatory aspects over commercial goals. Future research should examine connections between social enterprise and active participation and identification in transitional and authoritarian countries.
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