Letter to Laurence

Letter to Laurence
From Michael Roy
03.10.12

Hi Laurence,

I’ve met Dennis Young: he was at Trento at the EMES Summer School I attended and also at the ISTR conference in Siena which followed it. The latter was disappointing: overwhelmingly Americans talking to each other in a language foreign to the Europeans!

The thing about Dennis is that he is an anomaly: an American who actually recognises that other conceptualuzations and definitions of SE exist. The work of, for instance, Harvard Business School in this field singularly failsto recognise that fact, which would be fine if they weren’t rampaging all over South America (via their tie up with 13 business schools there, their "Social Enterprise Knowledge Network") pretending that the ‘solidarity economy’ hasn’t existed for the last 200 years! The consequence is that you can’t even use the term "social enterprise" in Brazil without them immediatelythinking its a top-down initiative from the likes of the Coca-Cola Foundation or some other NGO or whatnot, and steadfastly refuse to use the term inconnection with their workers’ co-ops etc and other highly developed initiatives. I was with Marthe Nyssens in Siena when we heard this from a Portuguese academic and from several Brazilians, one of whom is my pal Daniel from Sao Paolo studying for
a PhD on this topic in Pisa.

Dennis Young has been exposed to the work of Defourny and Nyssens who, in 2010, categorized the different approaches and presented their excellent "convergences and divergences" paper which you can download from here:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/social_business/docs/conference/defourny_en.pdf

They also presented on this topic in Siena but I wasn’t able to attend thatsession. I would have been intrigued to see how many Americans attended tobroaden their views!

Hope this is useful,

Michael