Accepted Paper:

The entrepreneurial character of social, political or cultural agencies: searching for a transcultural notion of entrepreneurship  

Author:

Richard Pfeilstetter (University of Seville)

Paper short abstract:

Our contribution suggests an anthropological entrepreneurship concept that does not reduce the term to the popular notion of legal business creation. We suggest that agency driven innovation in relation to local surroundings should be the theoretical core of an anthropological entrepreneurship concept.

Paper long abstract:

Anthropologists have always understood economic activity as intimately related to all other aspects of human existence (and vice-versa). Specific types of social organizations, ecological conditions or cultural beliefs are at the heart of every specific economic system. This observation is a general result of qualitative research at the micro-social level of economic agencies, such as for instance, the entrepreneur.

Nevertheless, most research on entrepreneurship, mainly conducted by psychologists, sociologists and economists, defines entrepreneurship as enterprise creation. From a non-ethnocentric point of view the classification of social institutions in terms of their own society is not valid transculturally. Our contribution suggests an anthropological entrepreneurship concept that does not reduce the term to the popular notion of legal business creation. We suggest that agency driven innovation in relation to local surrounding should be the theoretical core of the concept of anthropological entrepreneurship.

We present the results of case studies on emerging local institutions not declared or perceived as enterprises. We argue that the economic, social and cultural transformation at a community level fostered by these actors more accurately justifies classifying them as entrepreneurs. The transcultural study of creativity and resilience in the local responses to structural dependency on forces outside the community may be the anthropological contribution to entrepreneurship theory and practice.

Panel P112
Cultural entrepreneurs in Africa: endeavors, constraints and pathways of success (EASA Africanist Network)