Archive for the ‘ Capitalism ’ Category

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.

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The Future of Cultural Work

The recent conference at the Open University, The Future of Cultural Work, inspired much debate and discussion amongst delegates and touched on many pertinent issues for my PhD research into cultural entrepreneurship and education policy. With many strands including capitalism and work, precarious labour, working in television and inclusion & exclusion, it offered a variety of perspectives and provocations in relation to cultural work and cultural labour. Not only were the themes appropriate to my research, but many key academics on the subject presented and attended the conference – I must admit to being a little start-struck! Continue reading

‘Has art given in to the way things are?’ McGuigan

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In his second chapter of Cool Capitalism, McGuigan discusses the tension between art and business; artists and the economy. Tracing the issue back to the Romantics and the decline of the artist’s relationship with rich patrons, we see a shift towards the role of artists as critics of society, politics and the market. Art and literature then becomes defined by the idea of the ‘bohemians’, typified by the Impressionists and Baudelaire’s ‘flaneur’; a popular concept which still prevails. Citing many examples to demonstrate his point, McGuigan describes artistic practice  as the ‘Great Refusal’. In other words, the unwillingness to conform and the role of art as critique of the established order. Continue reading

What’s ‘cool’ about Cool Capitalism?

My next PhD report takes a historical look at entrepreneurship and as a starting point, I am reading Cool Capitalism by McGuigan. In the first chapter, McGuigan calls capitalism into question. He explores the rise of capitalism from the ethical position of protestants through to mass consumerism revealing capitalism’s ‘dirty secrets’. He exposes the contradictions of capitalism as an inevitable outcome of a capitalist society. McGuigan refers to Schumpeter who remarked that the very nature of capitalism creates societies in which individuals can be both supported by the system and critical of it, in particular, artists and writers (much to Schumpeter’s discontent). Continue reading