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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

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Rory Tews



Social entrepreneurship in Germany: A Bourdieuan perspective

The idea of using economic activity to address social and ecological problems is gaining momentum globally; and it is presupposed that this phenomenon there can be categorised as the emergence of a broad field of 'social entrepreneurship'. This means that, given a model of contemporary society with a public, a private and a 'third' sector, then social entrepreneurship would be situated at the intersection of the private and third sectors. The research question at the heart of this project sought to establish whether there is an emergent social entrepreneurship field in Germany or if this activity represents an emergent sub-field of the economic or third sectors. This process was to be undertaken through the use of a Bourdieuan framework. The central concepts from Bourdieu, such as field, habitus and capital were highlighted and operationalised. While there were theoretical advances and methodological refinements, the primary contribution of this project was empirical, though the further development of Schäfer's habitus analysis approach represented a methodological contribution. In addressing the central research question, the logic inherent in the social entrepreneurship sector was assessed with respect to how organisational goals are formulated, how the aim of economic activity is understood at an actor level, as well as what measures of 'success' are deemed important.

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Initiative for Excellence
to Promote Institutions of
Higher Education
(First Funding Period 2007-2012,
Second Funding Period 2012-2017)

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