Den 18-19 november firade Nobelmuseet, i samarbete med Sociologiska institutionen vid Uppsala universitet att Nobelpristagaren Jane Addams fyller 150 år i år, och arrangerade den första Jane Addams-konferensen om socialt entreprenörskap någonsin.
Jake Hunter, som arbetar som kursassistent, på Malmö Högskola rapporterar och reflekterar från konferensen.
”The conference was a very interesting and informing weekend that brought up many different aspects and ideas for viewing social entrepreneurship from a sociological perspective. The motivation behind the conference was to commemorate and honor the work of Jane Addams, her influences on social work and her contributions to an early form or social entrepreneurship.
A debate that was raised during the second day of the conference was based on the notion that taking less money for work involving social causes lessened the value of the work in the eyes of the general population. This was based on the belief that work done in the social fields is just as important as what is done by others in more main stream fields and should command the same compensation. This was a particularly interesting question to be brought up at a conference about social entrepreneurship because often in social entrepreneurship a part of the value a project creates is based on the amount of social good it does. This of course led to a thought-provoking discussion with both sides making very compelling arguments, with both sides agreeing to consider the others opinion.
Because the majority of Jane Addams life was dedicated to social work and she is associated with many influential scholars of social science, a large number of the participants were sociologist attending from many universities from around the world. On the final day of the conference the topic of the future of social science was brought up, along with some different opinions on the way forward. While some contended that sociology is based on theory and it is the understanding and dedication to theory that makes sociology unique and defines the need for it, others spoke of a more pragmatic approach and encouraged to look for ways that inter- disciplinary collaborations could open up new pathways for sociology to thrive. Having a degree in sociology myself, I also would like to see the subject have a more predominant role in discussions that are traditionally outside the field of sociology such as social entrepreneurship. The vast majority of social entrepreneurship programs around the world are conducted by business departments of universities with a small number of expectations. This is based on the belief that many established business practices can be re-worked in order to extract a greater amount of social good out of them. I believe this could also work for sociology. If another look was taken at some of the established sociology theories, it could help to build a foundation on which some new social entrepreneurial practices could be based.”