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Social Enterprises as Development Actors


Eversole, R and Duniam, MF, Social Enterprises as Development Actors, A Research Agenda for Social Entrepreneurship, Edward Elgar Publishing, A de Bruin & S Teasdale (ed), United Kingdom ISBN 978-1-78897-231-4 (2019) [Other Book Chapter]

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In the quest for sustainable development, rural development is a persisting policy concern. Around the globe, rural areas provide the key resources – such as food, fibre, energy, and ecosystem services – necessary to sustain urban settlements. They are home to diverse communities of rural people and a range of rural industries, often including but not limited to agriculture. At the same time, physical distance from markets and concentration of resources and services in urban areas may disadvantage rural areas and jeopardise community sustainability. This chapter considers social enterprises as rural development actors and explores how they relate to other development actors in rural places.

Rural development refers to planned initiatives that aim to make a positive difference for rural communities (Eversole 2018b). Historically, rural development initiatives have often been initiated from outside rural places by national governments, NGOs or other development actors, who act upon rural communities using a range of policy approaches (Ellis and Biggs 2001). It is only relatively recently that rural communities have been theorised as protagonists rather than passive recipients of development action, and then primarily by practitioner-researchers (Chambers 1983, Annis 1987).

While there is a persisting tendency for rural development efforts to be instigated by non-rural people, there is also recognition that the on-the-ground knowledge of rural people themselves is a vital resource. Rural communities are diverse, internally heterogenous, and capable of instigating their own development action (see e.g. Eversole 2018a). Attention to rural communities as development actors has opened up the opportunity to consider rural communities’ own agency and leadership in rural development; including the role that particular kinds of community organisations may play in generating rural development outcomes.

Social enterprises are one kind of organisational actor in rural communities that have the potential to generate important rural development outcomes. While research on the role of social enterprises in rural development is still at a very early stage, it suggests that social enterprises based in rural areas are skilled at mobilising community resources, building social capital, and generating a range of benefits for their local communities (Eversole et al. 2013, Duniam, 2017, Barraket et al. in press). Social enterprises appear to be significant organisational actors generating rural development outcomes from within rural communities.

Item Details

Item Type:Other Book Chapter
Keywords:rural economic development, social enterprises
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Microeconomics
Objective Field:Microeconomics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Eversole, R (Professor Robyn Eversole)
UTAS Author:Duniam, MF (Mrs Mary Duniam)
ID Code:141304
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2020-10-13
Last Modified:2021-06-30

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