Bourdieu, Culture, and the Economic Geography of Practice: Entrepreneurial Mentorship in Ottawa and Waterloo, Canada

Economic geographers have struggled over how to address the role of culture in economic processes without resorting to either structural determinism or agent-centric rationality. While culture is commonly seen as an institution affecting economic processes, there has been little consideration regarding the mechanisms connecting cultural outlooks within individual practices and actions. This article links the sociological work of Pierre Bourdieu with relational economic geography and practice perspectives to examine how cultural outlooks influence the practices of entrepreneurial actors. Through a qualitative analysis of 73 interviews, this framework is used to examine the patterns of entrepreneurial mentorship in Waterloo and Ottawa, Canada. The article finds that the significant differences in both the rates and the dynamics of mentorship between the two cities are the result of different cultural outlooks toward mentorship that have developed within each region, which in turn have fostered distinct beliefs about the value of mentoring and entrepreneurship.

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