Abstract

Contemporary policy encourages self-employment and entrepreneurship as a vehicle for empowerment and self-sufficiency among people with disabilities. However, such encouragement raises important citizenship questions concerning the participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). As an innovative strategy for addressing pressing social and economic problems, “social entrepreneurship” has become a phrase that is gaining momentum in the IDD community—one that carries with it a very distinct history. Although social entrepreneurship holds the potential to be an empowering source of job creation and social innovation, it also has the potential to be used to further disenfranchise this marginalized population. It is crucial that in moving forward society takes care not to perpetuate existing models of oppression, particularly in regard to the social and economic participation of people with IDD. The conceptual tools addressed in this article can inform the way that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners approach complex issues, such as social entrepreneurship, to improve communication among disciplines while retaining an integral focus on rights and social justice by framing this issue within citizenship theory.

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