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Defying contextual embeddedness : evidence from displaced women entrepreneurs in Jordan

Al-Dajani, Haya and Akbar, Hammad and Carter, Sara and Shaw, Eleanor (2018) Defying contextual embeddedness : evidence from displaced women entrepreneurs in Jordan. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development. pp. 1-29. ISSN 0898-5626 (In Press)

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Although entrepreneurial practices and processes are evolving and changing globally, models of entrepreneurship remain masculinised, embedded in advanced economies and associated with notions of individual agency, heroism and control. Rarely is defiance considered. In this paper, we explore the defiance practices of displaced women operating in the Jordanian patriarchal economy and society and consider how this enabled their nurturing of entrepreneurship. Indeed, we argue that socially excluded women actually defy their contextual embeddedness through their entrepreneurial activities. In so doing, we respond to calls for research that explores the contextual embeddedness of women’s entrepreneurship, and contribute to shifting the focus towards the 'more silent feminine end of the entrepreneurial process' (Bird and Brush 2002, 57). We consider the defiance of invisible displaced women entrepreneurs operating in the under-researched context of Jordan. Longitudinal, ethnographic investigation revealed the creation of a secret production network led by, and for, displaced women. This paper focuses on the five founders of this network, which they established to mobilise and manage the production of traditional crafts and, by so doing, to defy the stifling limitations imposed by their restrictive contractors, community and family members.