In the absence of a widely accepted and common definition of social enterprise (SE), a large research project, the "International Comparative Social Enterprise Models" (ICSEM) Project, was carried out over a five-year period; it involved more than 200 researchers from 55 countries and relied on bottom-up approaches to capture the SE phenomenon. This strategy made it possible to take into account and give legitimacy to locally embedded approaches, thus resulting in an analysis encompassing a wide diversity of social enterprises, while simultaneously allowing for the identification of major SE models to delineate the field on common grounds at the international level.
These SE models reveal or confirm an overall trend towards new ways of sharing the responsibility for the common good in today’s economies and societies. We tend to consider as good news the fact that social enterprises actually stem from all parts of the economy. Indeed, societies are facing many complex challenges at all levels, from the local to the global level. The diversity and internal variety of SE models are a sign of a broadly shared willingness to develop appropriate although sometimes embryonic—responses to these challenges, on the basis of innovative economic/business models driven by a social mission. In spite of their weaknesses, social enterprises may be seen as advocates for and vehicles of the general interest across the whole economy. Of course, the debate about privatisation, deregulation and globalised market competition—all factors that may hinder efforts in the search for the common good–has to be addressed as well.
The second of a series of four ICSEM books, Social Enterprise in Latin America will serve as a key reference and resource for teachers, researchers, students, experts, policy makers, journalists and other categories of people who want to acquire a broad understanding of the phenomena of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship as they emerge and develop across the world.
Part 1: SE Landscapes and Their Ecosystems
1. Social and Solidarity Economy Organisations in Argentina: Diversity, Models and Perspectives
2. Bolivian Cooperative and Community Enterprises: Economic and Political Dimensions
3. Social Enterprise in Brazil
Adriane Ferrarini, Luiz Inácio Gaiger, Marília Veronese and Paulo Cruz Filho
4. Social and Solidarity Economy Organisations in Chile: Concepts, Historical Trajectories, Trends, and Characteristics
Michela Giovannini, Pablo Nachar, Sebastián Gatica and Nicolás Gómez
5. Social Enterprise in Ecuador: Institutionalisation and Types of Popular and Solidarity Organisations in the Light of Political Embeddedness
María José Ruiz Rivera and Andreia Lemaître
6. Social Enterprise in Mexico
Carola Conde Bonfil and Leïla Oulhaj
7. The Encounter of Andean Solidarity and the Purpose-driven Business: Defining and Modeling Social Enterprises in Peru
María Angela Priallé and Susy Caballero
Part 2: Transversal Analysis
8. The Political Dimension of Social Enterprises
9. Does Latin America have Specific SE Models? Some Empirical Evidence
Jacques Defourny, Marthe Nyssens and Olivier Brolis
10. SE in South America: Challenges and Perspectives
Luiz Inácio Gaiger and Fernanda Wanderley
Conclusion byMarthe Nyssens, Luis Inacio Gaiger and Fernanda Wanderley
Over the last decades, in parallel to major changes towards privatization in the welfare regimes of advanced industrialized countries, social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship have gradually become "à la mode". They are interpreted in policy documents in market-economic terms, making social enterprises a valuable partner for policy makers looking for innovative ways of addressing social and societal problems, among which bringing the excluded back into society and increasing social cohesion. However, balancing active citizenship and empowerment, on the one hand, and market-based social service delivery and innovation in a sustainable manner, on the other, represents a daunting challenge.
In this context, social innovation is conceived as creative solutions to existing wicked social problems, at the level of both concrete outcome and process; and social enterprises are heralded as vehicles for such societal improvement. However, beyond the superficial approaches to social innovation, its relationship with social enterprises and social entrepreneurship remains to be better understood and systematized. Therefore, the series invites contributions that are committed to understanding the complexity of these transformations by engaging in new dialogues within and among all regions of the world, each with its specific historical, cultural, social and political contexts, as well as among disciplines, as these evolutions must be tackled in their multi-dimensional nature.