Social Innovation Community Summer School
19 April 2017
Social Innovation Community Summer School: study visits
27 July 2017

6th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise

EMES, in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Work, State and Society (CIRTES, Université catholique de Louvain) and the Social Enterprise Belgian Interuniversity Attraction Pole (IAP), are pleased to announce the 6th EMES International Research Conference on the theme “Social enterprise for sustainable societies” which will take place on July 3-6, 2017, at the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium).

The aim of this 6th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise is to be one of the world’s central meeting places for all researchers involved in social enterprise, social entrepreneurship and social and solidarity economy research across the globe.

CIRTES is one of the founders of the EMES network. It has built up a strong expertise on SE organisations in European and Southern contexts; analysing their socio-economic logics and their expression through public policies, the market and civil society in various fields such as work integration, care, social finance, commons and the popular economy.

IAP – Interuniversity Attraction Pole – is a consortium of four Belgian research centres gathered under the title “If not for Profit, for What? And How?” supported by the Belgian Science Policy Office from 2012 to 2017. It includes the Centre for Social Economy (CES, University of Liege), CIRTES (Université catholique de Louvain), the Centre Européen de Recherche en Microfinance (CERMi, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the Department of Applied Economics (APEC, Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Around 45 faculty members and researchers in economics, management, sociology and psychology have jointly developed an interdisciplinary and integrated knowledge on social entrepreneurship and social enterprise.

Conference thematic lines and conveners

Can social enterprise help overcome the current crises? Issues such as growing social inequalities, massive unemployment, the lack of economic democracy, and environmental unsustainability have increased the global expectations of social enterprises. Each in its own way, governments, civil society actors, non-profit leaders as well as the business sector, are seeking to discover, or rediscover, new possibilities of promoting economic approaches while targeting social aims. Indeed, examples of social enterprise and initiatives to support these goals have dramatically increased.

However, do these innovative practices promote institutional economic diversity and democracy or do they contribute to the weakening of solidarity through the marketization of society? Likewise, is their potential to address the major current and future economic, social, environmental and societal challenges fully understood?

Social enterprises naturally cross various types of borders, in terms of sectors (public, business, cooperatives, associations), resources (drawing them from the market, public procurement and grants, volunteering, etc.) and activity fields. Their social mission usually marks the activity field where they operate, ranging from more traditional fields such as access to social services and health and work integration to the most innovative ones, such as social and ecological transition, social finance and culture.

In a truly worldwide and interdisciplinary perspective, this conference will discuss the challenges faced by social enterprises in this critical period and the opportunities and challenges they face to build sustainable societies. The conference will aim to bring together research communities from all over the world related to the third sector (non-profit sector, cooperatives, social economy, solidarity economy and civil society) and researchers working on social innovation, social entrepreneurship, commons, sustainable transition, popular economy, etc.


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