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Anne de Bruin and Simon Teasdale

In this scene-setting chapter we integrate some important, but less developed themes from the social entrepreneurship research literature, including subsequent chapters in this book, to help pave the way for a future research agenda on social entrepreneurship. In particular, we highlight the importance of inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of social entrepreneurship, the value to be gained from paying attention to context, and the need to move beyond studies which focus on particular dimensions of disadvantage and to incorporate intersectionality. A better understanding of the everyday will, we argue, clear a path for research to probe future imaginaries.

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Francesca Calò and Simon Teasdale

In this chapter we examine the alternative approaches to governing the zoo in Italy and England – two countries with long traditions of state support for social enterprise. Italy is widely credited with developing the concept of social enterprise, and was one of the first countries in the world to develop a specific legal form for social enterprise through the social cooperative, while England has arguably the most developed state support apparatus for social enterprise. Despite different political starting points, and different approaches to governing the zoo, both Italy and England appear to be converging towards a governance model whereby organizational form is downplayed in favor of more instrumental approaches in which political support is provided to any organization or activity that can contribute towards policy goals. This promises a social enterprise zoo with greater biodiversity in both countries.

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Edited by Anne de Bruin and Simon Teasdale

In the last two decades social entrepreneurship has grown in energy and impact as entrepreneurial spirit has increasingly turned to finding solutions for social, cultural and environmental issues. As social entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, so too has its academic study. A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship brings together contributions from developing paths in the field to signpost the directions ahead for the study of social entrepreneurship.
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Simon Teasdale, Fergus Lyon and Robyn Owen (Baldock)

Social enterprise is a contested concept which has become a site for policy intervention in many countries. In the UK the government has invested significant resources in social enterprise infrastructure, partly to increase the capacity of social enterprises to deliver or replace public services. Government publications show the number of social enterprises to have increased from 5300 to 62000 over a five-year period. This chapter explores the myth of social enterprise growth in the UK through a methodological critique of the four government data sources used to construct and legitimize this myth. Particular attention is paid to how political decisions influence the construction of evidence. We find that growth is mainly attributable to political decisions to reinterpret key elements of the social enterprise definition and to include new organizational types in sampling frames.