An Affirmative Critique
Edited by Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert
Chapter 5: The tale of the veil: unweaving Big Society and the social enterprise myth
This chapter critically explores the deployment of social enterprise in UK and Australian social enterprise policy-making by the leaders of the two countries’ Conservative parties. To do so, we explore the place of social enterprise in the Big Society: the policy philosophy that initially occupied the policy agenda of David Cameron in the UK and briefly of Tony Abbott in Australia. We apply Wingo’s framework of ‘veil politics’ to present the social enterprise myth as aesthetic adornment, tempting wider engagement and as idealization. Having unpacked how these leaders deployed social enterprise, we used Derrida’s concept of iterability to contribute a new explanation of the different trajectories of social enterprise myths in the two countries, as shown through the failed transition of the Big Society project from the UK to Australia.
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