For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Framing social enterprise as post-growth organising in the diverse economy"

by Houtbeckers, Eeva (2018)


Organising for post-growth society is called for to enable living on our finite planet. While previous research has suggested that social enterprise could be one form of post-growth organising (PGo), these suggestions might not rely on critical studies of social enterprise (SE) or studies exploring everyday practices of SE. This paper asks to what extent can SE practices be considered to be post-growth organising and examines two empirical examples of self-employment identified as SE and sensitive to the elements attached to PGo. They functioned to develop more sustainable solutions in the field of co-working for social innovation and up-cycling used clothing. The analysis of actors’ everyday ‘sayings’ and ‘doings’ reveals how SE is used to channel social and environmental concerns in working life. Moreover, self-employment was not enough to constantly provide a living wage, but actors sustained themselves by navigating the diverse economy. Subsequently, they had to relate to the economic growth imperative at an organisational level. By making visible the ambivalence of the notion ‘social enterprise’, this study encourages the conducting of research that focuses on the everyday practices perceived as PGo.


Degrowth, Economics, Sustainability, Social Enterprise, Empirical Study



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