OPINION: Social Entrepreneurship’s All-American Mind Trap
In a world filled with persistent and emerging social, economic, and environmental problems, a modern crusader has emerged with the power to save the day—the social entrepreneur. After long being overshadowed by its much more visible and celebrated sibling, the business entrepreneur, social entrepreneurs have taken center stage as a new type of superhero fighting injustice, poverty, and other social evils across the globe. The powers and undertakings of social entrepreneurs are communicated and illustrated via powerful stories in research and the media and supported by celebrities, policy-makers, philanthropists, and a growing number of intermediary support and funding agencies.
The notion of social entrepreneurship has become an arousing and intoxicating subject that has turned the social entrepreneurship discourse into a grand narrative. Not only are social entrepreneurs celebrated as fundamental social change agents, their superhero images are further reinforced by the tendency to repeatedly frame socially entrepreneurial actions and impact in positive terms. As a consequence, as Pascal Dey and Chris Steyaert put it back in 2012, “anyone who raises questions or concerns is immediately looked at suspiciously because social entrepreneurship has, in the dominant perception, already passed the test of critical scrutiny.”