Can social enterprise address social exclusion? Evidence from an inner city community

Briefing and working paper series: 3

This paper examines the impact of social enterprise on exclusion within an inner city location.

Research literature suggests that the overall economic impact of social enterprise on economic dimensions of exclusion is marginal. In part this is due to a mismatch between policy expectations and what is happening in the field.

However, this case study research found that different forms of social enterprise impacted on exclusion in different ways. Social enterprise tended to impact along the less tangible lower levels of exclusion. People could become included within a group, but remain excluded by the standards of the society they lived in. This paper outlines these different impacts in order to open up a more balanced perspective on the potential and limitation of social enterprise to combat exclusion.

Our case study research involved participant observation over a two year period enabling a wider and deeper understanding of the phenomena under investigation. Selection of cases was based on a preliminary typology for social enterprise. Exclusion was conceptualised as multi-dimensional and relative to the standards of the society in which a person lives.

Research Contacts
Dr Simon Teasdale