An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

Voices, Preconditions, Contexts

Edited by Rafeal Ziegler

This timely book sets social entrepreneurship in a historical context, from its philanthropic beginnings in the Victorian era to the present day, against the backdrop of contemporary global capitalism.

Chapter 7: The Culture of Management: Self-Interest, Empathy and Emotional Control

Eva Illouz

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries


Eva Illouz What an enormous price man had to pay for reason, seriousness, control over his emotions – those grand human prerogatives and cultural showpieces! How much blood and horror lies behind all ‘good things’! (F.W. Nietzsche, quoted in Smith, 1971: 31) 7.1 INTRODUCTION The impact of capitalism on social relations has been the central puzzle of classical sociology, with most of the founders of the discipline agreeing that capitalism posed a serious threat to our capacity to create meaning and maintain social relationships. This chapter shows that under the aegis of psychologists who started to massively intervene in the American corporation from the 1930s onward, the deployment of rationality inside economic organisations counter-intuitively went hand in hand with an intensification of emotional life. Second, the chapter argues that psychologists, acting simultaneously as professionals and as producers of culture, have not only codified emotional conduct inside the workplace but, more crucially, made ‘self-interest’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘instrumentality’ into valid cultural repertoires. Finally, the chapter argues that in becoming cultural repertoires of action, ‘self-interest’ and ‘efficiency’ actually generated and organised new models of sociability, most noticeably the model of communication. Psychological cultural frames drew from and merged with the cultural matrix of the market and thus came to orient the self, provide it with strategies of action and, perhaps more crucially, shape new forms of sociability. For the study of social entrepreneurship, this cultural development is of interest for at least three reasons. First, it centrally involves the concept...

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