Negotiating Tensions between Theory and Practice
Edited by Julie Wolfram Cox, Tony G. LeTrent-Jones, Maxim Voronov and David Weir
Chapter 18: Critical Social Entrepreneurship – An Alternative Discourse Analysis
James Latham, Robert Jones and Michela Betta INTRODUCTION In this chapter we argue that conventional methods of discourse analysis are found wanting when analysing the self-narrative construction of the identity of a ‘critical social entrepreneur’, and that a new form of discourse analysis is required. Critical social entrepreneurship (CSE) differs from the more mainstream concept of a social entrepreneur in that a CSE also wants to change the paradigm in which society exists. We advance this argument by presenting a section of transcribed text from an interview conducted with such a critical social entrepreneur who was trying to communicate not only his own values and motivations but also the vision he held for the future of his organization and society in general. Within this vision we believe that our interviewee was attempting to present some creative ideas, but these were proving difficult to enunciate when we analysed the conversations and texts using mainstream theoretical frameworks. To resolve this we suggest that a more fruitful approach can be taken by analysing the conversations and texts through theoretical frameworks developed by Robert Cooper (1976, 1987, 1990, 2001). We justify this by arguing that, like the interpretation of abstract art, the observer is required to adopt alternative ontological perspectives in order to construct meanings of the texts under consideration. Social entrepreneurship is a nascent and under-theorized field of academic inquiry (Austin 2006; Johnson 2000; Mair, Robinson and Hockerts 2006). The key difference between social entrepreneurship and business entrepreneurship is that the generation of...
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