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Social Enterprise... a new solution to wellness

Social Enterprise... a new solution to wellness

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Published by Tim Antric
In this essay I will explore two approaches both of
which, I believe, can contribute to the development of civil society through
empowering individuals and communities to take hold of their rights and
responsibilities. Social enterprise and health promotion are approaches that can
support the move from the current political limbo of the third way through to an
empowered civil society, I will consider these ideas, the forces that have shaped
them over the last two decades and the hope they may offer for the future.
In this essay I will explore two approaches both of
which, I believe, can contribute to the development of civil society through
empowering individuals and communities to take hold of their rights and
responsibilities. Social enterprise and health promotion are approaches that can
support the move from the current political limbo of the third way through to an
empowered civil society, I will consider these ideas, the forces that have shaped
them over the last two decades and the hope they may offer for the future.

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Published by: Tim Antric on Jul 05, 2009
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06/16/2010

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Social enterprise… a new solution to wellness. Exploring the roleof social enterprises in the promotion and protection of mental health in New Zealand.
Introduction
Ideas around the notion of civil society have been around for centuries (Pollock,2001) and whilst the terminology associated with civil society has had increasingtraction with proponents of the so-called third way, the ideas associated with thisconcept have not had the same impact. According to Pollock, civil societyadherents privilege civil society over other theories of social and economicorganisation whilst, according to Kelsey (2002), under the third way, “centre-leftgovernments… claim that they are abandoning neoliberal economic policies whilesimultaneously stabilising and embedding the conditions for the continuation of thesame policies”, that is to say, the ideology of ‘the market’ continues to hold sway.According to Edwards and Foley (1998), there is an increased interest in the conceptof civil society as a means of drawing attention to the neglect of the social in favour of the economic and the alleged advantages of ‘the market’. Edwards and Foley(1998) conclude that commitment to the ongoing development of civil society offersan opportunity to mobilise citizens, nurture democracy and reshape politicalinstitutions. According to the United Nations (cited in Wikipedia, 2007), thepromotion of civil society offers a further opportunity to resist the impact of theglobalised market. Central to the notion of civil society is an analysis of power (London School of Economics cited in Wikipedia, 2007) and thus the empowermentof individuals and communities. In this essay I will explore two approaches both ofwhich, I believe, can contribute to the development of civil society throughempowering individuals and communities to take hold of their rights andresponsibilities. Social enterprise and health promotion are approaches that cansupport the move from the current political limbo of the third way through to anempowered civil society, I will consider these ideas, the forces that have shapedthem over the last two decades and the hope they may offer for the future.
 
Social enterprise… a new solution to wellness. Exploring the roleof social enterprises in the promotion and protection of mental health in New Zealand.
Empowerment
Empowerment is central to health promotion (Clover et al., 2005; Downie, Tannahill& Tannahill, 1991; Durie, 1999; Labonte, 2001; Labonte & Reid, 1997; Laverack, 2004;Nutbeam & Harris, 2004; Raeburn & Rootman, 1998; Rissel, 1994; Robertson & Minkler,1994; World Health Organization, 1986) and social enterprise (Cabinet Office, 2006;Alter, no date; Amin, Hudson & Cameron, 2002; Gray, 2003; Pattinieme & Immonen,2002). To enable individuals and communities to gain power and participate fullyin society requires action which includes advocating for social, political, economicand environmental changes, providing a secure foundation for individuals andgroups to take control, and mediating between the different sectors that mighthave an impact on wellbeing (e.g., government, commercial, voluntary andcommunity) (World Health Organization, 2005). These actions, the authors of the
Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
(World Health Organization, 1986) suggest,will ensure “legislation, fiscal measures, taxation and organisational measures tosupport wellbeing… living and working conditions that are safe, stimulating,satisfying and enjoyable… flexible systems for strengthening public participation…[and] personal and social development” (ibid).A working definition of empowerment is provided by Minkler (cited in Nutbeam &Harris, 2004): a social action process inwhich organisations, communities andindividuals gain control of their liveswithin a complex social and politicalsystem, thereby improving equity andquality of life.Torre (cited in Rissel, 1994) proposed threeessential components of communityempowerment: (1) intrapersonal factors,(2) mediating structures, and (3) social
Figure 1:The Empowerment Holosphere (Labonte 1996)
 
Social enterprise… a new solution to wellness. Exploring the roleof social enterprises in the promotion and protection of mental health in New Zealand.
and political activities. Labonte (2001) presents a more comprehensive model ofempowerment, identifying five strategy areas (see Figure 1), each of whichrepresent a different level of social organization and relationships – interpersonal,intra-group, inter-group and inter-organisational. Laverack (2004) presents similar elements within a continuum (see Figure 2). Both approaches are useful tools inunderstanding the various steps individuals and communities may take in their  journey to empowerment. However, Laverack’s continuum presents a more usefulapproach in that it clearly demonstrates the incremental process of empowerment.Health promotion and social enterprise both contain a focus on the process ofempowering individuals and communities to take greater control of the factors thataffect their well-being and participation in society through a process of personal,group, community and societal development. The ideas behind both conceptsowe their beginnings to the philanthropists and social entrepreneurs of thenineteenth century (Rosen, 1993; Humphries, 2007). However, their re-emergence inthe late twentieth century represents a significant shift away from the top-downapproach of previous years. Both disciplines have re-emerged in the era of neo-liberalism, within an era of a market and cost-driven public sector (Kelsey, 1995;Evans, Grimes, Wilkinson, & Teece, 1996) in which the supposed efficiency of themarket, as the dominant economic system, has set new limits on what Governmentcan deliver (The Treasury, 1984). These new limits and the associated reforms of thepublic sector combined with the deregulation of the economic sphere have hadtremendous impact on the social fabric of New Zealand. According to Easton(2002), Kelsey (1995) and indeed the current Prime Minister (cited in Humphries, 2007)these reforms have failed to deliver the promised utopia and have, in fact, led to
* * * * *Personal Action Small MutualGroupsCommunityOrganizationsPartnerships Social andPolitical ActionFigure 2: Community Empowerment as a Continuum (Laverack, 2004)

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