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Can social enterprise contribute to creating sustainable rural communities? Using the lens of structuration theory to analyse the emergence of rural social enterprise


  • Artur A Steinerowski


  • Izabella Steinerowska-Streb


Recent public policies increasingly emphasize the role of communities in service co-production. Collaboration between the state and the public is frequently associated with social enterprise activities. However, the assumption that social enterprises can be successfully built and developed in remote and rural areas might be faulty. Current policy does not recognize contextual factors relating to rural social enterprise development. Drawing on a qualitative study in the Highlands of Scotland the article questions the role of social enterprise in creating sustainable rural communities; it presents promoters and barriers to rural social enterprise development. Findings suggest that although rural communities do not control all the conditions that affect them, they have the ability to adapt to some structural features. This means that in spite of social and economic challenges, rural communities might benefit from rural social enterprise through practising ‘adaptive capacity’.

Suggested Citation

  • Artur A Steinerowski & Izabella Steinerowska-Streb, 2012. "Can social enterprise contribute to creating sustainable rural communities? Using the lens of structuration theory to analyse the emergence of rural social enterprise," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 27(2), pages 167-182, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:27:y:2012:i:2:p:167-182

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    Cited by:

    1. Heike Delfmann, 2014. "Starting a rural business in an ageing society, a UK ? NL case study," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1333, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Marko Perić & Jelena Đurkin & Nicholas Wise, 2016. "Leveraging Small-Scale Sport Events: Challenges of Organising, Delivering and Managing Sustainable Outcomes in Rural Communities, the Case of Gorski kotar, Croatia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-17, December.


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