Social and Asocial Enterprise

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



One of the most significant recent developments in law and business has been the rise of the “social enterprise” movement. This development raises a host of questions: What counts as social enterprise? What is the impact of this categorizing? Does the category of social enterprise, or the related new legal form of the benefit corporation, in turn define others by contradistinction or otherwise affect their treatment? This chapter examines these questions with an aim that is two-fold: to bring together key points in the social enterprise and benefit corporation debates thus far, from the perspective of thinking about categories and their implications; and to step back to reflect on larger trends and potential directions that these developments might contribute to and push toward. Specifically, this chapter argues that two developing trends — the increasingly political marketplace and the expanding scope of corporate rights — are areas in which we may in coming years feel the impact of the social enterprise movement and benefit corporations.


social enterprise, benefit corporations, corporate law, corporate rights, political corporations, corporate social responsibility

Publication Title

The Cambridge Handbook of Social Enterprise Law

Publication Citation

In The Cambridge Handbook of Social Enterprise Law (Benjamin Means & Joseph W. Yockey eds., Cambridge 2018)