This paper explores the emergence of and policies and practices underpinning ‘social enterprise’ in Britain: that is, the concept that businesses could provide social services and benefits while returning profits to those who have invested in them. This paper argues that, in Britain, the concept was massaged into existence and adopted as a business and policy model at a particular historical juncture, in the later 1990s and early 2000s. The process involved a careful interweaving of linguistic maneuvers with financial calculations both at the level of specific businesses and at that of political regimes. This process is traced here with reference to a specific organization, the Big Issue, and a particular policy regime, introduced by the New Labour government between 1997 and 2005. For the former, the transition from business activity focused on the Big Issue magazine to brokering activities for the “social enterprise” sector generally is tracked. The New Labour government’s concurrent focus on “social exclusion” and rearticulation of terms denoting sectors providing public services are traced. Thus, light is thrown on the relationship between the strategic terminology deployed at the ground-level of business operations and the top-down level of governmental policy and welfare restructuring in this period.
"The Logic of "Social Enterprise": The Big Issue Organization and New Labour Policy at the Millennial Juncture."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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