III Cases

Social Entrepreneurship and Tourism Development in Mexico: A Case Study of North American Social Entrepreneurs in a Mexican Town

Helene Balslev Clausen

Abstract Enacting social entrepreneurship is about individual engagement, innovative ideas and creating social change. This article challenges this proposition of the individual social entrepreneur, rather social entrepreneurship is to be understood within the facilitating roles of networks through the process of mobilising collective interaction, trust and collaborate activities within networks. This case study considers the increasing flow of North Americans settling in Mexico to be social entrepreneurs. Their tourism-related business often has a social aim, not only generating economic growth but also addressing emerging socio-cultural needs in the Mexican communities. Through their non-profit organizations these transnational social entrepreneurs gain acknowledgment to the extent that they challenge the authorities’ power and even shape the meaning and nature of development. Here network ties and trust are essential factors for the sustainability of the ideas of the social entrepreneurs. We argue that these ties are based on symbolic and concrete practices such as national identity, global imaginaries and transnational practices, which makes it necessary to position transnational social entrepreneurs in tourism within a broader economic, sociocultural and political context and not understand entrepreneurship only as individual engagement.

Keywords Social entrepreneurship • Tourism • Transnationalism • Network ties • Authentic Mexico • Social capital • North Americans • Mexico

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