In Research


Year: 2018
Published in: Management Revue
Cited as: Houtbeckers, Eeva, 2018. “Framing Social Enterprise as Post-Growth Organising in the Diverse Economy,” management revue – Socio-Economic Studies, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 29(3), pages 257-280.


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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 coworking 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


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Recommendations from this resource

Future Research

1) More research that focuses on everyday activities perceived as SE and framed as post-growth organising, and the experiences of people navigating the diverse economy.
2) Further research could analyse in-depth, for example with a participatory research design, how actors move in the diverse economy and what kinds of paradoxes emerge. Also, exploring everyday practices reveals the different modalities and combinations that exist between two often mentioned extremes: namely, waged work under corporate control with a sufficient income and unpaid labour in emancipated self-governed collectives. Analysis in greater detail would be illuminating for the development of research on post-growth organising.