Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Addressing Poverty in the French "Banlieues"

Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of this project is to investigate the role that social entrepreneurship – the integration of market principles and a social mission within hybrid organizations labeled as social enterprises – plays in addressing contemporary poverty and social exclusion. To understand this, the dissertation addresses three interrelated questions using the empirical context of social entrepreneurship in Paris and its surrounding suburbs, or banlieues.1 The first part of the project traces how social entrepreneurship emerged both in practice and as a legitimated concept in French public discourse from the 1970s to the present. Chapter 2 relies on quantitative archival data to understand the conditions under which social enterprises succeed and/or fail in their poverty- and exclusion-reducing missions across different communities in and around Paris. Finally, Chapter 3 – the focus of this proposal, which requires fieldwork to be conducted in France – uses qualitative interviews to ask, a) how do social entrepreneurs and the various organizational actors that support social entrepreneurship define and measure success, failure and social impact? and b) to what extent are these definitions and measures affected by the local community context (ecosystem) in which social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and supporting organizations are embedded? Ultimately, in considering the contested nature of social entrepreneurship and its desired outcomes, the research investigates which actors are implicated in defining the movement’s success, failure and impact, and whose definition “wins out” among other possible alternatives?
Effective start/end date5/1/164/30/18


  • National Science Foundation (SES-1602784)


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