The Politics and Aesthetics of Entrepreneurship

The Politics and Aesthetics of Entrepreneurship

A Fourth Movements in Entrepreneurship Book

Edited by Daniel Hjorth and Chris Steyaert

This fourth book in the New Movements in Entrepreneurship series focuses on the politics and aesthetics of entrepreneurial processes, in order to shed light on entrepreneurial creation itself.

Chapter 4: Government Entrepreneurship and the Arts: The Politics of the National Endowment for the Arts

Lauretta Conklin Frederking

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisation studies


Lauretta Conklin Frederking Government, and the politics guiding government, is central for understanding entrepreneurship. Whether perceived as an obstacle or facilitator for entrepreneurs through direct regulation and policies, government affects entrepreneurs. While the stereotypical image of the government is bureaucratic and reactive, this chapter examines government in an entrepreneurial role of creating, capturing and inspiring in the arts industry. Thinking about government in entrepreneurial terms is not new. In 1984, political scientist John Kingdon analysed the role of policy entrepreneurs in transforming existing agendas, and William Riker formalized the process of political entrepreneurship in models depicting the effect of new coalitions when entrepreneurs successfully shift debate. In this particular case, it is not only politicians as individual entrepreneurs, but government as a whole that is associated with an entrepreneurial role. Government moves beyond mere reaction – not only does government create opportunities for others, but it also creates more opportunities for government itself through shifts in political discourse that emphasize the need for government participation, values that reinforce the importance of government funding and new institutional connections between government and citizens more broadly. During the 1960s the US federal government set up the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and through this institution it expanded the existing art market and created new markets in an unprecedented way. Opportunity and innovation are central to entrepreneurship, and with regard to government and the NEA, funding through grants provided impressive ‘webs of opportunity’ in order to support artists’ creative activities. Important characteristics...

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