Trapped in Another Field: Mission-drift in a Social Venture Engaged in a Public Partnership

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    “I’m going to give you a memory blank” says the tall and coloured young neighbour in a threatening tone. To my “tough, hey?” he answers, “do you think that I don’t beat women?” A few minutes later, that same young man, together with a few others from the gang, are throwing stones onto Frida Kahlo Mural Art Centre’s large windows, breaking one of them. It is a sunny day in the beginning of June 2012 and Förorten i Centrum (FiC), the social initiative running Frida Kahlo, has been trying to get established in Seved (Malmö, Sweden) for the previous three months.
    Förorten i Centrum is a social entrepreneurial venture started in Stockholm in 2010. Through collective mural art processes, the organisation engages in community-building efforts in order to nuance the defamed prevalent image of the stigmatised suburbs and their residents. By visualising in major outdoor walls alternative stories of the suburbs, FiC aims to counter the territorial stigmatisation of some of our most vulnerable urban suburbs (Wacquant, 2007). Through the collective production of large murals in public spaces, residents are organised and given a platform to raise up their voices. From its origins in 2010 till that summer of 2012, the organisation had successfully carried eight community murals in the Swedish capital alone. Expansion to Sweden’s southern city of Malmö proved more difficult though. Initially hopeful by the adamant support from the City of Malmö’s Administration, FiC did not realise that it had been co-opted by the field of City Management into addressing a social problem for which it did not have the resources nor the knowledge and which was beyond its original mission.
    Taking FiC’s efforts as the starting point, the essay paper the potential risky life of social initiativesexpanding to different cities. It uses Bourdieu’s notion of ‘field’ to analyse the varied stakes and differing logics of the actors involved in Seved’s conflict. Mission-drift will thus be considered as theresult of the co-optation of the non-profit organisation by the field of city management, a field whose actors’ stakes differ from those of the non-profit. The analysis shows that the structure of the collaborating fields is particular to each context (the city of Malmö in this case) and thus, FiC:s expansion to Malmö is a reminder of the importance of understanding contextual forces and interests for expanding social initiatives to new urban contexts, even when these are in the same country.
    Antal sider11
    StatusUdgivet - 2016
    Begivenhed17th N-AERUS Conference 2016: Governing, Planning and Managing the City in an Uncertain World. Comparative Perspectives on Everyday Practices - School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sverige
    Varighed: 17 nov. 201619 nov. 2016
    Konferencens nummer: 17


    Konference17th N-AERUS Conference 2016
    LokationSchool of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg


    • Social venture
    • City suburb
    • Public partnership
    • Mission-drift