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 13: Social entrepreneurship, democracy and political participation

Denise M. Horn


In this chapter Denise Horn argues that social entrepreneurship may lead to increased political empowerment only if human capabilities are fostered and states are willing to support these efforts. Social entrepreneurship should be considered as an ethical and normative pursuit, one in which governments have a stake. In that moral space opened up by social entrepreneurs, individuals may be empowered as citizens – the kinds of citizens that strengthen democracies by deliberating their needs, demanding their rights, and participating to their fullest. Horn argues further that the consumer-citizen who merely receives the conventional neoliberal wisdom is not empowered to disagree with neoliberal orthodoxy but rather only to maintain it. Too often, however, scholars and practitioners tend to take for granted that social entrepreneurship will naturally lead to empowerment. Thus an intervention is also necessary: we must reinterpret the logic of ‘empowerment’ that underlies most development schemes and its relationship to democratization.

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