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Narratives of Enterprise
Crafting Entrepreneurial Self-identity in a Small Firm
Simon Down's timely ethnographic study takes a philosophically reflective and empirically detailed look at the way in which enterprising people use narrative resources to construct their identity as entrepreneurs. The book draws on a wide range of intellectual sources, from naturalistic philosophy and social-psychology to sociology and organisational theory. Written in a strong narrative style, the book succeeds in making the often complex and inaccessible theories on self-identity easy to understand and convincing in relation to other notions of individual agency. Social aspects of self-identity are examined and elaborated on via the development of concepts such as cliches, generations, space and relationships. These concepts are, in turn, drawn from the narrative, temporal, spatial and relational frameworks through which individuals express self-identity. Neither super-heroes nor villains, the case-study entrepreneurs in Narratives of Enterprise emerge as normal people who seek to make sense of the world through their enterprising activity.
Providing a much needed and sophisticated empirical benchmark in a range of debates current in enterprise and organisation studies, this highly accessible book is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the intersection of self-identity and the character of the entrepreneur.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'... a very significant contribution made by the book is the thoughtful, but by no means negative, counterpoint to the omniscient vision of the nascent Schumpeterian superhero. While it is well grounded theoretically, it remains a highly accessible and an engaging read... An authoritative and informative account.' -- Lorraine Warren, International Small Business Journal '... a rich text for expert and non-expert alike. Down makes a valuable addition to the field of enterprise research by highlighting the value of empirical studies of narrative-identity for representing the "quieter voices" of entrepreneurial activity which he hopes challenge the "naysayers"...' -- Andrew Greenman, Work, Employment and Society 'Engagingly written, this sparkling account of the ebb and flow of workaday "entrepreneurship" injects real life into a field that is too often cluttered by arid enumerators and profilers of irrelevancies. There is space for the accomplished storyteller to provide everyday entrepreneurs with their place in the sun. In this stimulating book, Simon Down marks out this territory in an exemplary fashion.' -- Monder Ram, De Montfort University, UK 'Writing about small firms all too often bores us with rather abstract survey-based data, irritates us with anecdotal snippets or frustrates us with un-theorised and over-detailed descriptions. Simon Down not only avoids these problems, he delights us with a rich, detailed and entertaining account of life in a small firm. Above all, though, his account is informative and revealing, especially about the entrepreneurial aspects of small firm life and what this means for the people involved.' -- Tony J. Watson, Nottingham University, UK