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Title: The promise of social enterprise : a theological exploration of faithful economic practice
Author: Sampson, Mark Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 0148
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The boundaries between market, state and civil society have become blurred in the last thirty years. A consequence of this has been the emergence of social enterprise. Correspondingly, the conversation between theology and economics has developed significantly, though often with little attention paid to already existing forms of economic activity. Through exploring social enterprise, this thesis offers the beginnings of a theological account of social enterprise as faithful economic activity. However, social enterprise could offer either promise or peril, depending on how it is construed. The peril relates to the extent that it is a continuation of marketisation - the extension of the logic of mainstream economics to all areas of society. This is explored through an analysis of how mainstream economics has understood the theory of the firm, which conceptualises an anti-social enterprise. The promise relates to the extent that it embodies an alternative understanding of enterprise to mainstream economics. The key to this is language, in order to understand the social in social enterprise. The language of gift and reciprocity is suited for this task. However, gift is often considered as the opposite of transaction and antithetical to enterprise. Drawing on social anthropology, there are reasons to think that this opposition is problematic. Gift can be understood as a key component of economic activity. However, the literature suggests that gift and reciprocity can lead to violence. This provokes the question, 'Whose gift? Which reciprocity?' This is answered through the recent theology of Pope Benedict XVI and John Barclay, whose work is used to show how Christian theology offers an account of gift and reciprocity. This is the significance of the 'incongruous' gift - the 'unfitting' gift, and gift as ordered by the telos of 'mutuality'. Together, incongruity and mutuality offer a theological account of the distinctiveness of social enterprise as faithful economic activity.
Supervisor: Joyce, Paul Michael ; Vinzent, Markus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available