Call for papers: 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise

Panel for the 7th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise

24-27 June 2019, Sheffield, UK

Panel Co-ordinators: Mary O’Shaughnessy / Lars Hulgård / Gabriela Christmann

Theme: Social enterprises and social innovations in structurally weak rural regions

Structurally weak rural regions are faced with major social and economic problems. In comparison to “predominantly urban” or “intermediate” regions, they are economically less productive, which finds expression by a low level of gross domestic product. They provide a less extensive scope of desired goods and services, opportunities for higher education, and qualified job offers. Against this background, structurally weak rural regions on the one hand experience a considerable loss of inhabitants.

On the other hand however, at the same time an awareness has grown that socially innovative solutions are required and there is a drive in many structurally weak regions to work in innovative ways to improve the quality of life. Facing various social problems, politicians and researchers particularly see social enterprises as a factor which can help tackle the aforementioned problems. Social enterprises are known for generating and implementing innovative solutions for social problems and in certain situations to experiment with participatory and non-capitalist forms of entrepreneurial activities.

Innovation research assumes that it is not only an individual or a collective actor who brings on innovation processes, but that innovation happens in the context of social interactions and collaborative action of different actors. Thus, the question arises how cooperative, voluntary action and social entrepreneurial initiatives institutionally embed and organise their work in innovative problem solving, how they collaborate with others in these processes, and how do they tackle social and economic exclusion?

In this context, we therefore call for papers exploring

(i) the economic, political or cultural conditions of rural regions under which communitybased social enterprises operate, or

(ii) the collaborative forms, processes or tools of problem solving, particularly the ways in which social enterprises bring together the capacities of different people and institutions, or

(iii) how rural social enterprises contribute to sustainable development, or

(iv) the collaborative generation and diffusion, as well as the impacts and the sustainability, of socially innovative approaches responding to the problems.

Rationale: The papers that will be presented in this panel shall address the question of how research in these fields can be theoretically and/or methodologically conceptualised. It will provide an opportunity for 10 ESRs to network with international academics in their field of study and also to share, discuss and get feedback at this early stage of their research careers. These are the next generation of social enterprise, social innovation and social entrepreneurship scholars with a distinctive focus on regional and rural development.

Abstracts (no longer than 400 words) should be submitted no later than January 21st 2019 to the following:

Mary O’Shaughnessy 

Lars Hulgård

Gabriela Christmann