An Epistemological Criticism of Social Entrepreneurship: Is Social Entrepreneurship a Sound Scientific Field of Research
2018-09-18T21:08:28Z (GMT) by
The paper was shaped around the pivotal question: Is SE a sound and scientific field of research? The question has given a critical tone to the paper and has also helped to bring out some of the controversial debates in the realm of SE. The paper was organized under five main discussions to be able to provide a scientific answer to the research question: (1) is “social entrepreneurship” an oxymoron?, (2) the characteristics of SE knowledge, (3) sources of social entrepreneurship knowledge, (4) SE knowledge: structure and limitations and (5) contributing epistemology-making concepts for SE. Based on the sections, the study relied on the relevant philosophical schools of thought in Epistemology (e.g. Empiricism, Rationalism, Skepticism, Internalism vs. Externalism, Essentialism, Social Constructivism, Social Epistemology, etc.) to discuss these controversies around SE and proposes some solutions by reviewing SE literature. Also, to determine the governing linguistic discourse in the realm of SE, which was necessary for our discussion, Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) for the first time in SE studies was used. Further, through the study, SE buzzwords which constitute SE terminology were derived and introduced to help us narrowing down and converging the thoughts in this field and demarking the epistemological boundaries of SE. The originality of the paper on one hand lies in its pioneering discussions on SE epistemology and on the other hand in paving the way for a construction of sound epistemology for SE; therefore in many cases after preparing the philosophical ground for the discussions, it went beyond the prevalent SE literature through meta-analysis to discuss the cases which were raised. The results of the study verified previously claimed embryonic pre-paradigmatic phase in SE which was far from a sound and scientific knowledge, although the scholarly endeavors are the harbingers of such a possibility in the future which calls for further mature academic discussion and development of SE knowledge by the SE academia.