Social enterprise and the everydayness of precarious indigenous Cambodian villagers: Challenging ethnocentric epistemologies

Isaac Lyne

Purporting that particular manifestations of social enterprises are conditioned, at least in part, by the cultural context in which they are enacted (Peredo & McLean 2006), the chapter seeks to unveil the ethnocentrism inherent in dominant renditions of social enterprise by zooming in on a United Nations project geared toward promoting entrepreneurial activity in and, ultimately, the livelihood of indigenous Cambodian forested communities. This research explores the everydayness of social enterprise among an indegenous resin tapper community in two adjacent villages, in Rovieng District which lies to the south of Preah Vihear Province in northern Cambodia. The central research question guiding this research is: How do social enterprises emerge, survive and/or succeed in Preah Vihear? In addressing this question, the investigation unveils the narrowness of western understandings of social enterprise by raising sensitivity for the cultural contingency of social entrepreneurial projects and practices.The analysis contrasts institutional logics with local ones, looking critically at conceptual matters related to social enterprise including innovation, social capital, community participation and surplus distribution and the organic origins of a resin assocation in one village are contrasted with the efforts of United Nations consultants to instigate an assocation in the adjacent village. The chapter seeks to make a critical contribution to debates about social enterprise by showing how value free, managerialist approaches which are identifiable in the western discourses (Curtis 2008; Dey & Steyaert 2010) conflict with specificity of Developing World contexts. In this case, the chapter calls for a wider reading of the customary transactions within diverse economies to make sense of incentives for social enterprise development.

Suggested citation

Lyne, I. 2017. Social enterprise and the everydayness of precarious Indigenous Cambodian villagers: challenging ethnocentric epistemologies. In C. Essers, P. Dey, D. Tedmanson, & K. Verduyn (Eds.), Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship: Challenging Dominant Discourses. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 36-50.