Registering ideology in the creation of social entrepreneurs: Intermediary organizations, ‘ideal subjects’, and the promise of enjoyment

Dey, Pascal; Lehner, Othmar (2017). Registering ideology in the creation of social entrepreneurs: Intermediary organizations, ‘ideal subjects’, and the promise of enjoyment Journal of Business Ethics, 142(4), pp. 753-767. Springer https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3112-z

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Research on social entrepreneurship has taken an increasing interest in issues pertaining to ideology. In contrast to existing research which tends to couch ‘ideol- ogy’ in pejorative terms (i.e., something which needs to be overcome), this paper conceives ideology as a key mech- anism for rendering social entrepreneurship an object with which people can identify. Specifically, drawing on qualitative research of arguably one of the most prolific social entrepreneurship intermediaries, the global Impact Hub network, we investigate how social entrepreneurship is narrated as an ‘ideal subject,’ which signals toward others what it takes to lead a meaningful (working) life. Taking its theoretical cues from the theory of justification advanced by Boltanski and Chiapello, and Thévenot's recent affect-based theorizing on ideology, our findings indicate that becoming a social entrepreneur is considered not so much a matter of struggle, hardship, and perseverance but rather of ‘having fun.’ We caution that the promise of enjoyment which pervades portrayals of the social entre- preneur might cultivate a passive attitude of empty ‘plea- sure’ which effectively deprives social entrepreneurship of its more radical possibilities. The paper concludes by discussing the broader implications this hedonistic rendi- tion of social entrepreneurship has and suggests a re- politicization of social entrepreneurship through a confronting with what Slavoj Zizˇek calls the ‘impossible.’

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

Business School > Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship > Low-end Innovation

Name:

Dey, Pascal and
Lehner, Othmar

Subjects:

H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)

ISSN:

1573-0697

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pascal Dey

Date Deposited:

27 Oct 2020 10:35

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2020 10:35

Publisher DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3112-z

ARBOR DOI:

10.24451/arbor.13095

URI:

https://arbor.bfh.ch/id/eprint/13095

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