Capitalism with a conscience? A feminist-informed exploration of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in the UK

de Magdalene, Persephone (2014) Capitalism with a conscience? A feminist-informed exploration of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship in the UK. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The academic literature has long noted the position of social entrepreneurship as an under-researched phenomenon. To contribute to the field of gender and social entrepreneurship effectively, this study approached social entrepreneurship as a process enacted within a wider social context which, like gender, was considered to be socially constructed. Whilst gender roles and the gendered division of labour have the potential to significantly, and negatively impact upon social entrepreneurial individuals, the practice of social entrepreneurship, and the development of social enterprise policy, these issues have not been sufficiently addressed in the emergent social enterprise and social entrepreneurship literature, and a substantial gap in knowledge and theory therefore persists.
This thesis will make a contribution to knowledge by exploring the experiences of women social entrepreneurs operating in a variety of sectors, and in different locations across the UK, and applying a critical gender lens situated within a feminist theoretical framework within an under-researched context, that of UK-based social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.
This thesis will offer theoretical contributions by advancing our understanding of the impact of gender of women’s social entrepreneurial activities in the UK, through an investigation of the dominant discourses of SE and SEship and their enabling and constraining effects, through the exploration of the women social entrepreneurs’ narrative construction of their social entrepreneurial identities, and their understandings of SE and SEship, and through an investigation of the effects of life experience on social entrepreneurial identity formation, and subsequent social enterprise establishment.
As such, this thesis will contribute to the nascent gender and social entrepreneurship literature by highlighting the cumulative, and largely negative, effects of gender on women social entrepreneurs, and the ways in which gendered discourses, expectations, and stereotypes conspire with the ‘grand narrative of social entrepreneurship’ (Dey and Steyaert, 2010) to threaten women social entrepreneurs’ professional and organisational legitimacy. Furthermore, it contributes to the critical feminist entrepreneurship literature by demonstrating the applicability and transferability of critical feminist theory to the social entrepreneurial context, and the insight that such transfer offers into this emergent area of research. Finally, it contributes to the mainstream entrepreneurship literature through its exploration of the nexus of life experience, values/morality, and social entrepreneurial action, which demonstrates the fundamental way in which values and morality are situated within the women’s enactment of SEship through their SEs, and how these emerge as political responses to perceived injustices, in the form of (social) opportunity recognition, and are enacted as ‘ethical profit maximisation’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 12:57
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2018 12:57


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