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Social enterprises for development as buen vivir

Michela Giovannini (School of Social Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy and Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises), Trento, Italy)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 10 August 2012




The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual overview of linkages between buen vivir and social enterprise as emerging from a review of the literature regarding indigenous development approaches in Latin America. As reported in the literature such approaches aim to reduce poverty and affirm indigenous cultural identities through the sustainable use of natural resources.


The conceptual arguments build on a review of literature regarding social enterprise, mainly in its European conception, on social and solidarity economy according to several Latin American scholars, and on streams of literature related to indigenous development and indigenous entrepreneurship.


Against the failure of externally‐driven developmental policies, social enterprise can be considered as a useful vehicle for indigenous peoples to establish direct control and management of natural resources and territories that constitute an important step towards their self‐determination and self‐managed development.

Research limitations/implications

An empirical validation of the presented argument is lacking in this paper and further empirical work is needed.


The paper is an attempt to provide a general conceptualization of social enterprise as a meaningful tool for the development of indigenous peoples in Latin America, bringing together different concepts borrowed from theories on social enterprise, social and solidarity economy and indigenous development.



Giovannini, M. (2012), "Social enterprises for development as buen vivir", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 284-299.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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