Relasjoner, roller og paradokser: En analyse av konstitusjonen av forholdet mellom sosialøkonomisk og offentlig sektor

Karina Soldal

Student thesis: Master thesis


A Social Business is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. Combining aspects from the public, private and civil sector, the social business sector is launched as part of the solution to the future Gordian welfare knot. In Denmark, the public sector has had the primary responsibility for providing welfare services, but now the social business sector is presented as a contender for the execution of welfare services. This thesis examines the constitution of the relationship between the public sector and the social business Sector. The purpose of the thesis is to examine empirically how this relationship is constructed trough discourse, and further how this construction might entail some consequences for the future development of the sector. To be able to analyze the constitutive conditions of this relationship, my focus will be on how leading actors in society articulates the social economic sector, and how this articulation has some constitutive effects for the relationship between the public and the social business sector. I will start off with a discourse analysis inspired by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, and analyze how leading actors through discourse construct the social enterprise sector in a certain way. Trough my discourse analysis I identify five different discourses that attempts to ascribe meaning to the nodal point, “the social business sector”. Each one of these five discourses are social and political constructions that creates a system of relations between different practices and objects, while providing subject positions with which social agents (here, Social Business) can identify. This strategy allows me to question, how we trough language create and produce meaning, and how this creation of meaning affects how “our world” appears to us. Based on the findings in the discourse analysis, I carry on with a new institutional approach in the second part of the analysis. Here I find tendencies to coercive, mimetic and normative isomorphism. This indicates that the communication is creating an environment and a relationship, where the public sector plays an essential role and thus risking that the impact could be a social business sector excessively similar to the public sector. Together with the allocated subject positions and the construction of the relationship between the two sectors overall create a paradox, which again results in a fragile, risky and uncertain environment for the future development of the social business sector.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages91