The aim of this paper is to investigate the ways in which social entrepreneurship knowledge is both propelled and hindered by the socioeconomic circumstances. We examine the existing body of research and identify different conceptualizations and main schools of thought. We then demonstrate how the process of constructing academic representation is shaped by the prevalent public discourses. Our analysis leads to the differentiation between social entrepreneurship as mitigation and social entrepreneurship as transformation. We conclude that a better alignment of the two approaches – broadening research focus from outcome to process – would reveal their complementarity and contribute to the conceptual advancement of the discipline. We propose expanding the existing approaches with the politics of social entrepreneurship studies and stress the importance of increased reflexivity on the plight of the new discipline.