Creative entrepreneurship and resistance : countercultural entrepreneurs' discourses, structures and practices of liberation?

Dodd, Sarah; (2014) Creative entrepreneurship and resistance : countercultural entrepreneurs' discourses, structures and practices of liberation? In: ISBE 2014 Conference. Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), London.

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Objectives: To explore if and how in the hands of the disenfranchised, social, cultural and (craft) human resources become creative tools of entrepreneurial resistance. Prior work: The disenfranchised entrepreneur is contextualised in a range of marginal settings, including rural peripherality, depleted urban communities, socio-economic exclusion, counter-cultural social movements, post-colonialism, or belonging to an ethnic minority. In such settings, economic capital is typically largely absent or hard to come by, and dominant institutional structures remain firmly closed to would-be entrepreneurs. Studies are starting to show that - in contrast to dominant market-capitalism rhetorics of the heroic entrepreneur – that discourses, structures and practices of liberation are often developed by disenfranchised entrepreneurs, and especially through creative and craft entrepreneurship. Approach: This study explores three case studies of likely entrepreneurial resistance, all drawn from the same network of creative counter-cultural organizations in Athens: a tattoo parlour, a small chain of skate board shops, and a punk rock band. By selecting a sample drawn from the same community, analysis of the local context is enhanced. A mixture of qualitative research methods is used to gather rich longitudinal data, including semi-structured interviews, analysis of the internet and social media artefacts generated by these entrepreneurs, and participant observation. Results: Participants were centred towards their own worlds, beyond the mainstream (which they largely ignored), and were almost entirely engaged with the creative excellence, emotion and community this generated. Implications: Marginality, the position of powerlessness, can be deployed as a resource permitting a special kind of liberated entrepreneurship. Not only recognizing the barriers around established institutions (with their norms, and structures of dominance) such entrepreneurship of resistance actually turns being beyond the barriers into a space of freedom, a space of play. Value: . Entrepreneurship,can act for the disenfranchised as a vehicle to enact “the creativity involved in moving among various cultural frameworks” (Bhabha 1990; 1994; Frenkel 2008).