Whose public is it anyway? Re-imagining public entrepreneurship

Jan Myers

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This exploratory paper aims to open up discussion of public entrepreneurship through the examination of the emergence of new forms of governance and ownership structures of public service providers. This contributes to broadening and deepening discussion around public-private polarization, which often reduces the complexity of debate around the role, scope, and reach of the state in safeguarding public services for the wider public good.The paper draws on critical pragmatism, specifically the concepts of publics (Dewey) and lateral progress (Addams), and literature on public, civic, and social entrepreneurism to explore the entrepreneurship-society relationship.The aim of the paper, then, is to bring together conceptualisations of public and theoretical contributions on public entrepreneurship with practical examples from new and emerging organisations forms. A primary objective is to engage with the meaning and nature of ‘public’. A second objective is to examine the ways in which public entrepreneurship is manifested and to shift from preoccupation of ‘the correction of political machinery and ... concern for the better method of administration’ to concern with an ‘ultimate purpose of securing the welfare of the people‘ (Addams, 1902, pp 229-30). Here, Dewey’s (1927/2016) conceptualisation of the public as a sensory network for emerging problems is pertinent. A final objective is to provide practical examples of hybrid and alternative delivery models and to conclude with some questions in relation to possible sustainable health and social care in austerity and beyond.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
    EventInstitute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017: ‘Borders’, prosperity and entrepreneurial responses - Belfast, United Kingdom
    Duration: 8 Nov 20179 Nov 2017


    ConferenceInstitute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017
    Abbreviated titleISBE 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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