Social enterprises are often characterised by the vision and drive of an individual founder. We challenge this by taking inspiration from Alistair R. Anderson's arguments that social entrepreneurship is better understood as enacted within a social context. We move beyond linear conceptualisations to consider a more nuanced, contextually informed picture, where understandings of what it is to be 'social' in one's entrepreneuring are created at the interaction of the individual and their situation. A narrative approach is used to analyse 25 life stories used by social entrepreneurs in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, an area of social transition. We access how these entrepreneurs give meaning to the 'social' aspects of what they do. Our findings present a multi-faceted character, defined by their responses to changing social contexts. This is manifest in entrepreneurial practice, where we have a vacillation between acts of social rebellion and an enterprising organisation of benevolence, evolving in a social context which changes with and, in part, because of our social entrepreneurs. We move beyond definitional characteristics and closer to a theory of practice, by considering how social entrepreneurs interact with changing social demands and adapt their activities accordingly.
CUNNINGHAM, J., XIONG, L., HASHIM, H. and YUNIS, M.S. 2022. Narrating the "social": the evolving stories of Pakistan's social entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship and regional development [online], 34(7-8): special issue in memory of Professor Alistair Anderson 'Social perspectives of entrepreneuring', pages 576-581. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2022.2077990