Posts Tagged ‘ cultural worker ’

Feminist Theories of Entrepreneurship and Subjectivity

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One aspect of my research is to challenge dominant discourses in entrepreneurship studies. Much of the academic literature exploring entrepreneurship is US-based and explores high growth business models or the impact of entrepreneurship on the economy. Research methodologies favoured by this type of research tends to be quantitative – ‘scientific’. In contrast, women researchers of female entrepreneurship argue that a subjective approach can expose different insights. Bringing their own subjective experience enables women to investigate the subject of entrepreneurship from a new perspective.

…drawing on personal knowledge, in the light of feminist theory, allows women to express their experiences of living gendered lives in conditions of social inequality” (Ramazanoglu and Holland, 2004).

Inspired by this approach, I draw on my first hand knowledge and experience of cultural work, as someone who ran a small textiles business, to inform my study of cultural entrepreneurship. The intention is to listen more carefully to aspects of cultural work based on my own perspective and experience. Furthermore, the dynamic between researcher and interviewees is based on this shared and acknowledged understanding that the researcher is ‘one of us’ rather than an ‘objective’ observer. The idea that I know how it feels to be involved in cultural work, to some extent, removes the opportunity for exaggeration or for excessive invention from the interviewees. They know that I know. This is not born from a sense that cultural workers will ‘lie’ but rather that in my experience, they are often caught in ‘talking up’ their work and experience. In an environment in which the individual worker is often the brand and continuously selling their skills, there can be a lack of critical reflection.

In addition to having some insights into cultural entrepreneurship first hand, I also know the interviewees, having selected them from my personal contacts. Again, this has revealed an opportunity to be informal and created a ‘gossip’ style of interview. Throughout the interview, we will refer to individuals we both know. The process enables a form of self-identification in relation or in comparison to others.

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There is Creativity in the Method

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I am working on my methodology chapter. These are some of the questions I am asking just to get started: How is the approach linked to the purpose of the research? Why is it specifically relevant to approach the research in this way? How can I justify the methodology? What are the limitations and issues of quality or robustness?

I start by introducing the methodology chapter:

This chapter outlines the research approach taken in this thesis. The methodological choices have informed the data collection and interpretion, enabling the study to address the research question: ‘cultural entrepreneurship: what role does personal agency play in the cultural worker’s experience of entrepreneurship?’. The chapter contributed to an exploration of appropriate methodologies for capturing the subjective experience of entrepreneurial modes of work by individual cultural workers. This will further enhance current academics debates specifically in two disciplines: firstly by scholars engaged with Advancing European Tradition of Entrepreneurship Studies which seeks to explore entrepreneurship from broader perspectives and challenge dominant notions of the entrepreneur. Secondly it will inform cultural policy and cultural studies by further developing critical perspectives through empirical research.

In this chapter, I aim to include both practical elements such as how I collected the data and the process for designing the analysis, as well as the theoretical context for this approach. I start with inspiration from feminist research in entrepreneurship. But that’s my next blog post…

Position yourself

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I’ve just about finished my literature review and I’m feeling more confident about my ‘position’. The literature review is my first chapter and here is the introduction:

This chapter outlines the context for an exploration of cultural entrepreneurship. I draw on the academic disciplines of cultural studies, cultural policy studies and entrepreneurship to present different perspectives on the relationship between creative workers and entrepreneurial modes of work.

Critical debates, predominantly from cultural studies have sought to expose the paradox between on the one hand, a celebration of entrepreneurial and flexible work and on the other hand, evidence of self-exploitation (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011, p.70-75). Many cultural studies critics depict policies embracing entrepreneurship as evidence of neo-liberal capitalism at play. In contrast, less politicized academics, view the focus on the cultural industries and enterprise as an opportunity to consider new working practices.

The literature associated with these polarized views forms the basis of this chapter and presents the conceptual framework for this research. My aim is firstly, to present key arguments that have shaped research on cultural entrepreneurship. Secondly, I hope to reveal clear distinctions between academic disciplines in terms of approach and purpose. And finally, I draw from both critical research and new movements in entrepreneurship to inform the basis for my empirical study.

 

creating the cultural worker identity

From constructed identity to techniques for developing one’s identity as a cultural worker.

Identity theory, in cultural studies, has focused on the idea of the constructed identity – the external factors which construct our identity through the power of discourse and ‘différance’ as described by Derrida. Stuart Hall argues this is enacted through codes, language and style that are constructed through difference, how we define ourselves in relation to the ‘other’ as a means of distinguishing ourselves. This identity is not a fixed state of being but as Hall argues it is unstable, in a constant state of flux. But do we play a role in shaping that identity, specifically in the context of cultural work?

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