A Second Movements in Entrepreneurship Book
Edited by Daniel Hjorth and Chris Steyaert
Chapter 4: Going Against the Grain. . .’ Construction of Entrepreneurial Identity through Narratives
4. ‘Going against the grain . . .’ Construction of entrepreneurial identity through narratives 40 Lene Foss INTRODUCTION The focus in this chapter is entrepreneurial identity, a theme that has not been mainstream in entrepreneurial research. My aim is to explore the relation between entrepreneurial identity and individuals’ life course. The research ﬁeld has, to my knowledge, paid scant attention to theories that relate the ‘entrepreneurial self’ to events in the life of individuals and to the cultural context in which they live. In a recent study it is argued that entrepreneurial stories facilitate the crafting of a new venture identity (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001). I am interested in exploring how life stories facilitate the construction of entrepreneurial identity. Life is lived in places and where people have some sort of history. Identity is therefore culturally linked. My approach to entrepreneurship is that it is more of a cultural phenomenon than an economic one (Hjorth, Johannisson and Steyaert, 2003). I believe that an approach linking the ‘self’ of the individual to entrepreneurial activities can reveal how entrepreneurship is culturally situated. Stories, or narratives, may facilitate a better understanding of how life-course experiences matter for revealing entrepreneurial identity. My question is therefore: What does a narrative – a life story – tell us about entrepreneurial identity? My methodological approach is to narrate identity through the autobiographic genre (Bruner, 1990; Davies and Harré, 1990). I seek to make a methodological contribution to the narrative genre in entrepreneurship studies by letting the narrator have the main voice...
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