The concept of social entrepreneurship (SE) draws interest from all parts of the globe. Social entrepreneurs around the world address a wide range of societal challenges (Tracey and Phillips 2007) such as poverty, climate change, basic medical treatment, universal education, and women’s rights in an entrepreneurial spirit. In academia, SE is gaining ground as well. It is the central topic for a growing number of articles, books, business school courses and research centres.
Despite its relevance in practice and theory, the field is still in its infancy (Hoogendoorn et al. 2009). SE as a field of research lacks basic theoretical underpinnings (Austin et al. 2006) such as the conceptual understanding of its economic role (Santos 2009). Furthermore, it is limited by an often one-sided narrative approach of describing social entrepreneurs as heroes and SE as a universal remedy for humankind’s most pressing challenges (Dey and Steyaert 2010).
Although a number of authors have made valuable contributions to the conceptual and theoretical advancement of the field (Austin et al. 2006; Mair and Martí 2006; Peredo and McLean 2006) we believe that more theoretical contributions are urgently needed to move academic study of SE out of its “pre-paradigm stage” (Santos 2009: p.4). This special issue aims to focus on theoretical contributions with the potential to bring SE research to the next stage.
Relevant topics include but are not limited to the following:
- Meta papers analyzing the status of the field and suggesting future directions for the advancement of SE research
- Contributions borrowing promising theoretical concepts from other disciplines and applying them to the phenomenon of SE. This might include concepts used in economic, organizational, or behavioural theory
- Papers describing the space, landscape, or boundaries of SE
- The role of SE in our market economy
Submission deadline: 31 October 2010