In Research


Year: 2019
Published in: Social Enterprise Journal
Cited as: Gleerup, J., L. Hulgaard and S. Teasdale (2019). “Action research and participatory democracy in social enterprise.” Social Enterprise Journal 16(1): 46-59.


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to the Nordic tradition of Critical Utopian Action Research (CUAR) and to demonstrate how CUAR might reinvigorate participatory democracy as an intrinsic characteristic of social enterprise. This leads us to sketch out the beginnings of how researchers might work with communities to help realise their democratic impulses through social enterprise.Design/methodology/approach This paper aims to synthesise the participatory action research literature, particularly CUAR, with literature on social enterprise and democracy to demonstrate how the two approaches might fruitfully be combined.Findings The authors show how CUAR might be utilised by researchers, to articulate new social enterprise organisational responses to local problems or to reinvigorate democracy within existing social enterprises.Originality/value This exploratory paper marks (we believe) the first attempt to bring together social enterprise and CUAR.


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Future Research

1) Researchers might work with existing SEs to help them reinvigorate their democratic potential, and to articulate what they are for. 2) Researchers might also work with existing SEs to help them visualise their ideal world and articulate how they might work towards it, thus helping address the question: what is SE for?