Unmasking the Entrepreneur

Unmasking the Entrepreneur

Campbell Jones and André Spicer

This book asks what lies behind the friendly face of the entrepreneur. It challenges the widespread idea that entrepreneurship is a necessary and good thing, subjecting ‘the entrepreneur’ to critical analysis. Unmasking the Entrepreneur demonstrates the socially embedded nature of entrepreneurship and considers the history, ethics and politics of entrepreneurship. Drawing on a range of ideas from critical social theory and philosophy, it investigates entrepreneurship in unusual places such as among illegal immigrants and revolutionary France. Ultimately, this book offers a unique and powerful critique of the very idea of the entrepreneur.

Chapter 6: Is the Marquis de Sade an Entrepreneur?

Campbell Jones and André Spicer

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisation studies

Extract

Entrepreneurship is not an obvious, stable or present object. Rather, it is a place-holder in the history of political and economic struggle over valuation and the right to waste. If to successfully claim ‘I am an entrepreneur’ brings remarkable benefits, then we need now to give an account of the symbolic universe in which such claims to be entrepreneurial are coded as plausible or implausible. Thus in this chapter and the next we will examine two unlikely entrepreneurs – the Marquis de Sade and the illegal immigrant. By showing that the exclusion of these categories from entrepreneurship is implausible, we will further unmask the entrepreneur, and seek what else lurks barely beneath the designer suit. In this chapter we give this a twist by taking up what might appear at first to be an ‘extreme’ case of entrepreneurship. We ask if the infamous Marquis de Sade, from whom we take the reference to modern ‘sadism’, is an entrepreneur. Our analysis seeks to demonstrate that, if we analyse Sade in terms of social or institutional entrepreneurship, this case is not so far fetched as it might first seem. In fact, we argue that Sade can only be not seen as an entrepreneur if we overestimate his failures and, moreover, if we assume a particular morality and fail to pay enough attention to economics. It is important to stress that methodologically we are concerned here to bring to centre stage the question of exclusion in entrepreneurship. There is a lot of talk today...

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