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Social Justice through Enterprises

The End of the 1972/1973 Conjuncture? A Legal Perspective

Hagen Henrÿ

The article begins with reported data on social and economic imbalances and their negative effects on sustainable development. The state, the social partners, and enterprises such as cooperatives formerly organized democratic participation as the central mechanism through which social justice regenerates. Globalization makes them inoperative. That is why we have to reconsider the role of enterprises in general. Their responsibilities under the Global Compact and similar measures are not sufficient, unless they are made legally binding and are complemented by laws that link their structure to the aspects of sustainable development. The article singles out cooperatives and points to their features being approximated through legislation with the features of capitalistic companies, which negatively affects their sustainable development performance. The article concludes with remarks on the challenges for legislators, not least the outdated notion of competitiveness and a radically changing concept of enterprise.

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Inventing Eco-Cycle

A Social Enterprise Approach to Sustainability Education

Sandy Smith-Nonini

This article discusses lessons learned from a social enterprise project supporting sustainability education in central North Carolina (U.S.A.). Since 2011, Eco-Cycle,1 a retail shop featuring creative-reuse has provided support for a community meeting space that offers weekly environmental education workshops. Many approaches to social justice-oriented green initiatives in the United States emulate urban agriculture models and tend to be grant-dependent in early years, only achieving economic sustainability with difficulty. In contrast, our non-profit co-op of upcycler crafters and vintage vendors grew out of production and marketing of upcycled rain barrels, based on a social enterprise approach rather than a traditional model. I discuss the stepping-stones to this venture, which originated through a neighbourhood energy conservation initiative, followed by alliance-building with non-profits to promote green job creation. I relate the complications and surprising forms of synergism emerging from the social enterprise approach to social theory on cooperatives and community-based development models.

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A. H. J. (Bert) Helmsing

The concept of social entrepreneurship and enterprise has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Its appeal extends over a broad ideological spectrum, and it embraces a range of activities, from solidarity economy to changes within the capitalist market economy. However, the growing popularity of social enterprise has not gone unchallenged. Some see it as the privatization of social choices that belong in the public and civic domain. This article asks: How is the social constituted in social entrepreneurship? After reviewing why social entrepreneurship has become an issue and exploring its various definitions, it argues that a dominant current in the social entrepreneurship literature glorifies the individual entrepreneur while underemphasizing the importance of social processes. Social enterprise is dependent on the social entrepreneur’s civic engagement in mobilizing support. This engagement is critical for the economic, social, and political sustainability of the social enterprise. For social entrepreneurship to enjoy success in a sustained manner, it must first and foremost be “social.”

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Marilyn Strathern

Universities offer environments apparently favourable to open-ended and exploratory research, especially when interdisciplinarity is embraced as an aim. But this is not always quite the invitation it seems. Under the aegis of accountability, a bureaucratic form of interdisciplinarity is reframing the ways society is imagined and drawn into the scientific enterprise. Some problems for Social Anthropology are sketched briefly.

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Giovanni A. Travaglino and Benjamin Abrams

It is hard to think of the study of social protest and political behavior as anything but an interdisciplinary enterprise. It is grounded in a great many different perspectives, approaches, and levels of analysis. Different disciplines may even rely on fundamentally different conceptions of the social, the political, or the individual. Accordingly, the field has been privileged with a rich and impressive array of theoretical and empirical work dating as far back as the work of Marx, Rousseau, and Hobbes.

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Katharina Bluhm

Research on the enterprise transformation in East Germany after unification has focused mostly on the role of the Treuhandanstalt as the central actor in this process who widely determined its outcomes. David Stark and László Bruszt (1998) even suggest that this top-down model of transformation was rooted in the special institutional past of East German state socialism. They argue that the “Weberian home-land” was characterized by weak social networks among firms in comparison, for example, with firms in Hungary or Czechoslovakia, while the planning system and the industrial organization were extraordinarily centralized and hierarchical. Hence, social networks could easily be destroyed after German unification by market shock and by breaking up large enterprises into manageable pieces by the Treuhandanstalt. Moreover, the former, intact centralized planning system could easily be replaced by another centralized and cohesive administrative apparatus, now backed by the strong West German state.

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The Main Spheres of Activities of Sakhalin Uilta

Survival Experience in the Present-Day Context

Lyudmila I. Missonova

The paper describes the contemporary economic and social situation of the Uilta, an indigenous people on the island of Sakhalin. Particular emphasis is put on the legal and practical conditions for reindeer herding and fishing, the availability of labour resources, and the contribution of ethnically defined enterprises to securing Uilta cultural survival. Field research in 2001-2004 disclosed how the implementation of rights to land and resources works, or fails to work, on the local level. Through the analysis of the Uilta case, this report contributes to scientific debates on access to land and resource use.

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An Exogenous Path of Development

Explaining the Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility in China

Ka Lin, Dan Banik and Longfei Yi

Although the notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been largely Western driven, it has now also entered the popular discourse in many non-Western countries. In dissimilar social settings, the driving force of CSR development differs between its Western origins and its non-Western adaptors. This study examines the developmental dynamics of CSR in China, and how such force have influenced the CSR discourse in this country. This Chinese experience helps illustrate how an exogenous path of CSR development evolved in China. With this experience, we maintain that the standards of CSR have instrumental value in promoting social quality through its function on enterprises, in regard to improvising social relations of the companies with their employees, the local communities, and the public agents of localities.

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Social Gerontology

Concepts and Concerns in the U.S. and Europe

Anne Jamieson

Two recent publications, one American (Minkler and Estes, 1999) and one European (Arber and Attias-Donfut, 2000), provide a good opportunity to reflect on some of the issues and challenges in current social gerontology. Social gerontology is an area of study concerned with ageing and age-related social issues. Its strengths are its multidisciplinarity and the imaginative ways in which it successfully combines a range of perspectives and approaches in exploring the processes and experience of ageing. Within this broad field are widely different interests and concerns, and indeed differences of opinion as to what gerontology should be about. Whether such differences are clear-cut and perhaps even constitute ‘schools of thought’ is debatable. Judging from the discussion by the editors of Critical Gerontology: Perspectives from Political and Moral Economy, critical gerontology constitutes a field or enterprise, which appears as distinct from mainstream gerontology (Minkler and Estes, 1999).

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Dominic Boyer

This article offers a synthetic overview of the major opportunities and impasses of an emergent anthropology of experts and expertise. In the wake of the boom in anthropological science and technology studies since the 1980s, the anthropology of experts has become one of the most vibrant and promising enterprises in social-cultural anthropology today. And, yet, I argue that the theorisation and ethnography of experts and cultures of expertise remains underdeveloped in some crucial respects. The body of the article defines expertise as a relation of epistemic jurisdiction and explores the sociological and epistemological dilemmas emerging from research, that poises one expert (the anthropologist) in the situation of trying to absorb another regime of expertise into his/her own. With due appreciation for what the anthropology of experts has achieved thus far, I close with a manifesto designed to prompt a reassessment of where this research enterprise should go from here. I urge that we treat experts not solely as rational(ist) creatures of expertise but rather as desiring, relating, doubting, anxious, contentious, affective—in other words as human-subjects.