Social entrepreneurship: mythological ‘doublethink'

Lew Perren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The preceding chapters have put forward convincing arguments that social entrepreneurship is a politicised myth (Dey and Steyaert, Chapter 6 this volume; Mason and Moran, Chapter 5, this volume). Myth in this context is not just a falsehood as in the commonplace use of the term, but a dominating ideological icon that reinforces standardised views about knowledge and society (Dey and Steyaert, Chapter 6, this volume, drawing upon classic work by Cassirer (1946), Barthes (1946) and Sorel (1999); also see the helpful summary of the theory of myth in Segal, 2004). Such myths not only normalise the status-quo, but help sustain it by providing a ‘veil’ masking inconvenient truths, confounding ideological contradictions and amplifying positive imagery (Mason and Moran, chapter 5, this volume, drawing upon Wingo, 2003). Drawing upon these insights and those of Orwell (1949), Barthes (1972) and Lakoff (2004), this chapter will argue that social entrepreneurship is a particularly troublesome myth that triggers conflicting mental frames provoking a disempowering Orwellian ‘doublethink’ 1. Following advice from Lakoff (2004), an emancipatory reframing strategy will be proposed to counter the allure of social entrepreneurship mythology. (Introduction from Perren, 2018: 127) Note 1. The term 'doublethink' in the title of the chapter and elsewhere was coined by Orwell (1949) in this novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four) (Pynchon, 2009)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial entrepreneurship: an affirmative critique
EditorsP. Dey, C. Steyaert
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781783474110
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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