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From admiration to abhorrence : the contentious appeal of entrepreneurship across Europe

Drakopoulou Dodd, Sarah and Jack, Sarah and Anderson, Alistair (2013) From admiration to abhorrence : the contentious appeal of entrepreneurship across Europe. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 25 (1-2). pp. 69-89. ISSN 0898-5626

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Abstract

Although entrepreneurship seems to offer a universal economic solution, there are some doubts about whether it is universally attractive. We argue that entrepreneurship is a socially constructed concept and consequently the meanings, and hence the appeal, of the enterprise will vary internationally. We argue that how entrepreneurship is understood affects how attractive it seems. Accordingly, we investigated the meanings of entrepreneurship by analysing a range of metaphors of entrepreneurship gathered from schools across Europe. We found that both the meaning and understandings of the practices vary considerably. For most, the concept of entrepreneurship as an engine of the economy is attractive, but for some, the practices of entrepreneurs were considerably less appealing. We find links between national socio-economic contexts and attractiveness. We argue that culture and context seem to influence the social constructions of entrepreneurship and hence the attractiveness of entrepreneurial options. We also find that the pedagogical national narratives of the entrepreneur stand in dynamic tension with the performative national processes of entrepreneurship.