What can the field of entrepreneurship learn from studying cultural entrepreneurship?

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This is one of the questions being asked in a special issue of entitled Cultural Entrepreneurship for the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Venturing.

I am preparing an article for this special issue in which I shall focus on the following themes:

o    How does research on artistic identities and creative work practices inform our knowledge on cultural entrepreneurship?

o    How are cultural entrepreneurs enabled (or hindered) by their professional self-concept and routine work practices?

I aim to explore these themes by revealing insights into the lived experience of cultural entrepreneurship; the worker’s identities and personal agency within a specific context. Continue reading

Finishing my PhD and I Cant See the Wood for the Trees

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This final part of the PhD is really difficult. It is not about the number of words or reading more. It is about writing the final sentences and getting it just right. Or at least feeling that’s it is good enough.

But honestly, I can’t see the wood for the trees.

So I’ve taking my supervisor’s advice (as always), and I’ve decided to write a few paragraphs as if someone was quoting me. In other words, as if someone is writing about cultural entrepreneurship and including my work in their literature review. For instance,

According to Naudin (2014), cultural entrepreneurship is….

Continue reading

Post PhD: New Research Topics.

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As I am at the final stages of my PhD, I am starting to think about new areas for research. This is particularly important for me, as I want to be research active as a member of the Birmingham Centre for Media, Cultural and Research.

I started to articulate some potential ideas at the end of this blog post. Ideas which have emerged from my PhD research but which explore a narrow aspect of cultural entrepreneurship in the creative industries. I am specifically interested in women who work in the sector and investigating feminist literature such as the work of Rosalind Gill and Angela McRobbie. This has initiated an interest in agency and entrepreneurship and how that relates to female entrepreneurship. I discuss this in a post entitled Girl Power.

Them and Us through the Looking Glass: Race, Arts and Politics

Them and Us through the Looking Glass: Race, Arts and Politics.

This event looks very interesting. It takes place at The Drum, Birmingham on Thursday September 18th, 7-9pm.

 

The organizers are asking the following questions:

 

  • What does it mean to be a BME artist?
  • How does the title affect your work and visibility as an artist, practitioner or thinker?
  • What does it really mean when wider institutions used ‘BME’ as a frame of reference?
  • What can we do to negotiate it- and other such terms that confine us to single narratives and tick boxes exercises-to ensure the fluidity, nuances and textures of our practices are reflected in these cultural and artistic domains?
  • Is the process of abstraction a useful tool in liquidating the racial markers used to define the sociological body when trying to penetrate the cultural and artistic spheres that exclude us?

Cultural Entrepreneurship: New Perspectives for Entrepreneurship Studies

From the perspective of entrepreneurship studies, my research reflects a growing appeal for non-conventional aspects of entrepreneurship to be studied as a means of developing a closer understanding or even ‘surprising’ the academic field of entrepreneurship (Hjorth and Steyaert, 2006, p. 3). A critical perspective on current depictions of entrepreneurship can act as a catalyst for seeking new narratives. Hjorth and Steyaert’s book includes a study of indigenous people from deprived communities who change their socio-economic circumstances by rebuilding their community through entrepreneurial practice, thereby demonstrating their ability to control their future and challenge dominant views of their socio-cultural identity (Anderson et al., 2006, p.56). Continue reading

The Entrepreneur as Jester.

imagesCACYS744In popular discourse, the identity of the entrepreneur is described as an individual’s life story, achieving entrepreneurial success in the face of adversity, thus creating a strong association with the innate attributes of the entrepreneur, acting as an autonomous ‘free agent’, and often against all the odds. For instance, Alan Sugar’s profile is that of someone who from humble beginnings has become a highly successful entrepreneur. This narrative is depicted by Warren and Anderson in their study of the ‘aesthetic performance of an entrepreneurial identity’ which illustrates the personality of Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of the airline Ryanair (2009). For the authors, O’Leary’s entrepreneurial character is playful in his interactions with the media; he adopts a ‘jester-like pose, where the freedom of the clown’s cap allots a broad license to lambast both figures of authority influential in setting governance structures and also, the greyed ranks of august established competitors’ (ibid, p. 149). Warren and Anderson expose O’Leary’s ability to use entrepreneurial rhetoric as a means of challenging the structures which stand in his way, as a business man (ibid). Here, the idea of the entrepreneur is similar to that of the maverick, the disruptive individual who acts differently from the establishment. According to Warren and Anderson, O’Leary is empowered by performing this role and employs the character of the entrepreneur to meet his business needs in a competitive marketplace.

Continue reading

Feminist analysis and Bourdieu: 1. Resistance

I am using Bourdieu’s theoretical framework to explore cultural entrepreneurship. However, I am aware that I’m no expert in Bourdieu’s theories, and I wanted to explore a feminist critique of his work to help me understand my own approach. Beverley Skeggs has done a lot of work using Bourdieu as well as using feminist and poststructuralist theory, to understand value and values beyond economic perceptions.

In an article in The Sociological Review, 2004, Skeggs states that:

Bourdieu is useful because of the parallels between feminist approaches to epistemology and methodology, in which theoretical frameworks and political programmes are always embedded in social relations. (Skeggs, 2004, p. 20)

For Skeggs, Bourdieu’s work includes three main strands:

  1. Linking of objective structures to subjective experience (structure and agency)
  2. metaphorical model of social space in which human beings embody and carry volumes and compositions of different capitals  – capitals
  3. methodological insights in which reflexivity, as a prerequisite to knowledge, provides us with a way of examining the positions from which we speak  – reflexivity

Skeggs is more specifically interested in issues relating to gender and class, which are not part of my study. However, I have found some thought provoking insights in her arguments. I have two issues  that I am trying to apply to my own study. In this post I explore the idea of ‘resistance'; people who do not ‘fit’ neatly into a position within the field, may be more likely to resistant dominant discourse or individuals.

Bourdieu would argue that dominated groups are more likely to be resistant because they are less invested in the games of power. (Skeggs, 2004, p.25)

In feminist research that might be women who do not identify with conventional and dominant male power. In my research, this could be influential individuals (policy makers, those deemed to be powerful within the social context) and/or the rhetoric of enterprise which has permeated the language of cultural work. Could it be the case that, for example, if a cultural worker is not looking for funding or support from local agents, he/she is in a better position to act autonomously. However, again referring to feminist research and women’s experience, Skeggs notes that this is not always the case. Rather, ambivalence and contradictions are found in women who can both:

produce a perfect critique of masculine traits and dispositions, yet this does not lead to resistance or change as Bourdieu would predict; rarely to women take on the ‘view of the dominant on the dominant on themselves’ (Bourdieu, 2001:42). (Skeggs, 2004, p. 26)

For me, this complexity is useful because it echoes Banks’ idea that cultural entrepreneurs are not ‘desocialized drones’ and that there is an opportunity for ‘uncovering alternative rationales’ for entrepreneurship and ‘morally diverse approaches to capitalism’ (Banks, 2006, p. 467).  My understanding is that I can expect an ambiguous response to entrepreneurship and to dominant cultural policies from the cultural workers I am studying.

 

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