The overall aim of this paper is therefor to contribute to the understanding of the emerging field of “social enterprises”. This will be done through mapping and analyzing the current Swedish debate. More specifically, the aim is to contribute to the understanding and recognition of entrepreneurial and enterprising social engagement without diverting critical discussions on differences, priorities, desirable outcomes, undesirable outcomes in spite of good intentions, or even shady intentions.
This paper is grounded first of all in a study of entrepreneurial processes for social change conducted 2001-2005 (Gawell 2006). It is further related to continued research in the field (described below) with attention to the theoretical development but also to the emerging practices “on the field” but also within public policy. Firstly in this paper the theoretical field is discussed and research questions are specified. Secondly, this is followed by a methodological account and a presentation of the Swedish current discussion. Finally there is a concluding discussion.
The main argument in this paper is to rather accept the problems with having a variety of definitions of social and societal entrepreneurship and social enterprises than developing a strict but limited definition of the same.