The European Political Framework for Rural Development and Social Entrepreneurship

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Georgios CHATZICHRISTOS, University of Aegean, Greece
The endeavour of social entrepreneurship inside the European framework appears problematic, still even from the identification of a common conceptualization. Extensive researches show that this might be due to the fact that social entrepreneurship is an immanently subjective form, inextricably interwoven with the specific social context and geographical and historical peculiarities (Steyaert and Katz 2004; Smith and Stevens 2010; Bacq and Jannsen, 2011;Somerville and McElwee, 2011).

The present paper will seek to investigate the development of social enterprises and rural areas, inside a European political framework that appears threefold: European, national, regional. The fragmented framework articulates an understanding about social enterprises that “differs substantially across (and sometimes even within) countries” (European Commission, 2014, p.15). Thus, the common discrepancy between the local claims and concerns, and the externally imposed i) concept of social entrepreneurship and ii) Rural Development Programs (RDPs) will be investigated via a survey that will question the policy makers’ assessments and opinions about social enterprises and RDPs.

Significant divergences between the opinions of policy makers of different regions (inter-national), will indicate the cross-national and cross-regional diversity of member states and will enhance the assumption that common European goals are difficult to be articulated -social entrepreneurship and RDPs should be developed closely related to geographical and historical peculiarities. Significant divergences between the replies of the policy makers in the three political levels (intra-national) -European Commission, National Government and the Local Government- will indicate that the top-down approach has a weak appeal to the lower political levels –potentially a more bottom-up perspective could be elaborated.

Eventually, what should be underlined, is that the research should take into serious consideration timely, sociopolitical phenomena (for example Euroscepticism) that trigger significant externalities that might not be correlated to the rural actions per se. The longevity of such external phenomena remains controversial.