The emergence of social enterprise policy in New Labour's second term

Somers, Alibeth. 2013. The emergence of social enterprise policy in New Labour's second term. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This doctoral research explores New Labour’s foray into social enterprise policy- making. In 2002, New Labour established the first ever Social Enterprise Unit and launched a series of policies in an effort to establish what it described as an ‘enabling environment’. This doctoral research characterises this unique time period as a first wave of social enterprise policy-making, when the policy idea is rooted in social enterprise as an alternative business model and anchored in the Department of Trade and Industry.

This thesis is a comprehensive policy study that examines first how social enterprise became included in New Labour’s social policy agenda and analyses the way different policy entrepreneurs from inside and outside of the Labour Party championed the idea for myriad reasons. It then investigates the distinction between the rhetoric the Party used to describe social enterprise and the way it actually went about creating policies to embed notions of social entrepreneurship across Whitehall Departments. The final portion of the research investigates the implementation dynamics of this vast agenda and how regional and local government officers interpreted the various policy messages and objectives handed down from the centre.

It is a case study that charts the development, design and initial implementation of social enterprise policy during New Labour’s second term in office, and relies on a combination of documentary analysis, participant observation, interview, and survey data to shed light on this phenomenon.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Social enterprise, New Labour, social policy formation and implementation analysis

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April 2013

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Date Deposited:

09 May 2013 10:15

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:20


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