Modernising the European Social Paradigm: Social Investments and Social Entrepreneurs

Policy perspectives of the European Union as well as those of member states currently link the concepts of social investment and social entrepreneurship in order to advocate both where and how to intervene. The argument of this article is that the explicit linking of these two notions, by policy-makers at several different levels and scales of authority, constitutes an emerging policy paradigm. The article identifies three characteristics of any paradigm, including that a policy paradigm must provide a perspective on the maintenance of the well-being of both society and individuals. Despite variation across countries and levels of authority (a characteristic of any paradigm) policy communities proffer the quasi-concepts of social investment and social entrepreneurship in combination as the appropriate ways to govern financing and the delivery of social investments. Therefore, social enterprises are targeted to receive public financing in order to deliver social investments in activation (training, employability, job support and wage supplements) as well as childcare. Reliance on this assemblage is documented across scales from the local through the national, transnational and international.

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