October, 2007

Subalternity and Entrepreneurship: Tales of Marginalized But Enterprising Characters, Oppressive Settings and Haunting Plots

  • Virgil Storr

    Vice President, Academic & Student Programs
  • Bridget Butkevich

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Entrepreneurs are cultural creatures and culture affects how they conceive their opportunities and how they determine and pursue their interests. Understanding entrepreneurship in any particular context thus requires attention to be paid to prevailing cultural beliefs as well as the formal and informal institutions that affect economic behaviour. This paper adopts the important but seldom used approach of focusing upon the tales of entrepreneurship prevalent in a given culture. The authors argue that to get a sense of the economic culture in a particular context, it is crucial to focus on what a culture’s success and failure stories tell about how to get ahead. Arguably, this approach is particularly important if the goal is to understand entrepreneurship amongst subaltern/marginalized groups. Using fiction from the former Soviet bloc, where a one-dimensional form of entrepreneurship flourished even within the command economy, and literature from anglophone Africa and the British Caribbean where black entrepreneurship had to contend with brutal colonial rule and post-colonial corruption, this paper highlights how entrepreneurs were influenced by culture in these contexts, and explores the origins of these cultural factors.      

Read the full article at SSRN.com.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Storr, Virgil Henry and Butkevich, Bridget I., Subalternity and Entrepreneurship: Tales of Marginalized But Enterprising Characters, Oppressive Settings and Haunting Plots (October 1, 2007). International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 251-260, 2007.