Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Conference session report (3)
Geographies of Social Enterprise
The study of social enterprise organisations that trade with a social purpose is an emerging field of research that is of importance to geographers and other social scientists. This double session recognised the topical nature of the research and brings together academics already working in the field to present their work but also to discuss future research directions.
The first session focused on the geographies of social entrepreneurs/enterprise covering a variety of research areas: Jane Ricketts Hein presented a summary of research on the role of churches in rural areas; Emma Street discussed her research with the South Bank Employers Group; Dan Van der Horst showed the importance of social enterprise in the renewable energy sector and Muki Haklay discussed the use of Geo-Spatial mapping techniques in understanding social impact to cultural and social geographical aspects of social enterprise.
In the second session focused on connecting social enterprise research with social theory and the relationship between social enterprise and the empowerment of marginalised and excluded groups. The session included presentations Mike Gordon, with some statistical analysis of social enterprise activities; Kean Birch discussing the role of the third sector in regional development and finally Sarah-Anne Muñoz offered a research agenda for social enterprise research.
The sessions complemented each other by focussing on the different approaches and methodologies associated with social enterprise research. It is hoped that this will stimulate further research on social enterprise within Geographical research.