Registering ideology in the creation of social entrepreneurs: intermediary organizations, 'ideal subject' and the promise of enjoyment

Article


Dey, P. and Lehner, O. 2017. Registering ideology in the creation of social entrepreneurs: intermediary organizations, 'ideal subject' and the promise of enjoyment. Journal of Business Ethics. 142 (4), pp. 753-767. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3112-z
TypeArticle
TitleRegistering ideology in the creation of social entrepreneurs: intermediary organizations, 'ideal subject' and the promise of enjoyment
AuthorsDey, P. and Lehner, O.
Abstract

Research on social entrepreneurship has taken an increasing interest in issues pertaining to ideology. In contrast to existing research which tends to couch ‘ideology’ in pejorative terms (i.e. something which needs to be overcome), this paper conceives of ideology as a key mechanism for rendering social entrepreneurship an object with which people can identify. Specifically, drawing on qualitative research of one of the most prolific social entrepreneurship intermediaries, the Impact Hub, we investigate how social entrepreneurship is narrated as an ‘ideal subject’ which signals toward others what it takes to lead a meaningful (working) life. Taking its theoretical cues from Luc Boltanski’s theory of justification and from recent affect-based theorizing on ideology, our findings indicate that becoming a social entrepreneur gets framed less as a matter of struggle, hardship and perseverance than of ‘having fun’. We caution that the promise of enjoyment which pervades portrayals of the social entrepreneur might cultivate a passive attitude of empty ‘pleasure’ which effectively forecloses the properly political. The paper concludes by discussing the broader implications this hedonistic rendition of social entrepreneurship has, thus suggesting a re-politicization of social entrepreneurship through a confronting with the ‘impossible’.

KeywordsSocial entrepreneurship, ideology, ideal subject, affect, enjoyment, hedonism, narratives, intermediary organizations
Research GroupCentre for Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSpringer
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
ISSN0167-4544
Electronic1573-0697
Publication dates
Online16 Mar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Feb 2020
Accepted06 Mar 2016
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Business Ethics. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3112-z

Additional information

Special Issue on Ideologies in Markets, Organizations, and Business Ethics

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3112-z
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/88w59

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