Questioning dominant entrepreneurship assumptions: the case of female ethnic minority entrepreneurs

The aim of this paper was to shake up the entrepreneurship ideal by problematizing what seems to have become naturalized, i.e. the ideologized tale of optimism associated with entrepreneurship. We have chosen a particular group of entrepreneurs (one usually and typically excluded in not only popular discourse but also in mainstream entrepreneurship literature), and we have chosen a typical Western society, one that firmly ascribes to neoliberal ideas. We have brought into play Dutch institutional stories with those of female ethnic entrepreneurs to see if these institutions sustain the presupposed view and to find out how these women consequently ‘deal’ with such presuppositions, and how and at what particular aspects they resist them. Since centre-margin positionalities are central to our investigations we have turned to deconstruction analysis as an inspirational source for our analysis. Our analysis portrays how the centred ideas about entrepreneurship and the positive powers attributed to it do not hold; it demonstrates the incoherence of this centre rather than confirming its position. We have been able to establish that the hegemonic, positive discourse on entrepreneurship in general and with women of ethnic minority origin specifically indeed resonates in these institutions’ stories, mostly in its non-reflexivity and ideological prejudices.

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