Migrant women stepping into ethnic catering; homeless men employed to take care of bees producing honey for sale; young people on the edge getting microcredit funding to start social businesses; or former criminals joining forces to create social and economic structures for an honest lifestyle. These initiatives capture the transformative power of social enterprise and might indicate how social enterprises have the potential to make a difference for people and societies. The Nordic countries represent an interesting case. Social enterprises and co-operatives played a significant part in paving the way for the Nordic solicaristic welfare state.
As the welfare state grew, civil society organizations and co-operatives lost ground, to a certain extent. But in recent decades, the welfare state has been restructured and, simultaneously, the concepts social entrepreneurship and social enterprises have gained attention. The Nordic context, with extensive public welfare structures and a high degree of citizens’ participation in public affairs, might affect the emergence of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises.
1. Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises in the Nordics: Narratives Emerging From Social Movements and Welfare Dynamics
Linda Lundgaard Andersen, Malin Gawell, and Roger Spear
2. Social Entrepreneurship Demolition of the Welfare State or an Arena for Solidarity?
Linda Lundgaard Andersen and Lars Hulgård
3. Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises: Chameleons through Times and Values
4. Evolution of the Social Enterprise Concept in Finland
Harri Kostilainen and Pekka Pättiniemi
5. Social Enterprise as a Contested Terrain for Definitions and Practice: The Case of Norway
Hans Abraham Hauge and Tora Mathea Wasvik
6. Practicing Entrepreneuring and Citizenship: Social Venturing as a Learning Context for University Students
7. Employees as Social Intrapreneurs: Active Employee Participation in Social Innovation
Catharina Juul Kristensen
8. The Added Value of Social Entrepreneurship in Contemporary Social Design in Norway
Brita Fladvad Nielsen and Jonas Asheim
9. Social Entrepreneurship: Between Odysseus’ Scar and Abraham’s Sacrifice
10. Social Entrepreneurship as Collaborative Processes in Rural Sweden
Yvonne von Friedrichs and Anders Lundström
11. Microfinance as a Case Study of Social Entrepreneurship in Norway
Unni Beate Sekkesæter
12. Social Change Through Temporary Short-term Interventions: The Role of Legitimacy in Organizing Social Innovation
Anders Edvik and Fredrik Björk
13. Entrepreneurship Invited into the (Social) Welfare Arena
Malin Gawell, Elisabeth Sundin, and Malin Tillmar
14. Narratives of Social Enterprises: Its Construction, Contradictions and Implications in the Swedish Debate
15. Democratic Innovations: Exploring Synergies between Three Key Post-NPM Concepts in Public Sector Reforms
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.