Social Entrepreneurship
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Social Entrepreneurship

An Affirmative Critique

Edited by Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert

Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert provide a timely critique on the idea of social entrepreneurship and its reputation as a means for positive social change. The book uses different traditions and modes of critique to interrogate, disrupt and reimagine the concept of social entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 9: Of course, trust is not the whole story: narratives of dancing with a critical friend in social enterprise–public sector collaborations

Pam Seanor


The impetus to write the chapter came from a story on trust told at an academic conference, referring to a ‘dance’ between social enterprises and the public sector in England. The story seemed to convey a modern parable suggesting that social enterprises were dancing together since sharing similar values, while not dancing with those in the public sector due to a lack of trust. This story sat uncomfortably with me as author, feeling it was at odds with experiences from conducting research in the north of England with practitioners from social enterprises during my doctoral research. This chapter thus draws on these conversations with practitioners to discuss their collective sense-making and to offer their little narratives as a way of problematizing grand narratives of trust and distrust that often dominate the literature on social enterprises. In this way, the chapter elaborates how practitioners’ narratives transgress and subvert dominant narratives of trust and distrust by questioning dominant assumptions.

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