A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship
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A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship

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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Chapter 17: The times of social innovation – fictional expectation, precautionary expectation and social imaginary

Rafael Ziegler


Time and innovation are intrinsically related in capitalism via the imaginative anticipation of the future. Fictional expectations, as Jens Beckert has argued, are important for understanding the dynamics of capitalism, including its colonization of alternative, creative expressions of agency. So what about the role of fictional expectation for social innovation? The chapter pursues this question in a practical social innovation context: the sustainability challenge. It reveals varieties of temporal orientation: next to the fictional expectation, there are precautionary expectations advanced by sustainability science and social imaginaries of civil society that are just as much about ‘present pasts’ than they are about ‘future presents’. A comprehensive account of temporal orientation in social innovation, sensitive to the colonising tendencies of capitalist dynamics, needs to investigate the role of fictional expectations but also explore their relation to other types of future and temporal orientation.

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