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Conceptualising feminist resistance in the postfeminist terrain
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6843-4038
Number of Authors: 42023 (English)In: Gender in Management, ISSN 1754-2413, E-ISSN 1754-2421, Vol. 38, no 2, p. 183-199Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - In this paper, women entrepreneurs are seen as leaders and women leaders as entrepreneurial, making both groups an easy target of postfeminist expectations, governed by calls to embody the entrepreneurial self. Acknowledging that the entrepreneurial self has its roots in the universal, rational and autonomous subject, which was shaped in a male form during the Enlightenment, the purpose of this study is to conceptualise feminist resistance as a process through which the autonomous subject can be de-stabilised.

Design/methodology/approach - Empirically, this study draws on an extensive research project on women’s rural entrepreneurship that includes 32 in-depth interviews with women entrepreneurs in rural Sweden. This study interpreted expressions of resistance from the women by using an analytical framework the authors developed based on Jonna Bornemark’s philosophical treatise.

Findings - Feminist resistance unfolds as an interactive and iterative learning process where the subject recognises their voice, strengthens their voice and beliefs in a relational process and finally sees themselves as a fully fledged actor who finds ways to overcome obstacles that get in their way. Conceptualising resistance as a learning process stands in sharp contrast to the idea of resistance as enacted by the autonomous self.

Research limitations/implications - This study helps researchers to understand that what they may have seen as a sign of weakness among women, is instead a sign of strength: it is a first step in learning resistance that may help women create a life different from that prescribed by the postfeminist discourse. In this way, researchers can avoid reproducing women as “weak and inadequate”.

Originality/value - Through the re-writing of feminist resistance, the masculine entrepreneurship discourse including the notion of the autonomous self is challenged, and a counternarrative to the postfeminist entrepreneurial woman is developed. Theorising resistance as a learning practice enables a more transforming research agenda, making it possible to see women as resisting postfeminist expectations of endless competition with themselves and others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 38, no 2, p. 183-199
Keywords [en]
Postfeminism, Autonomous self, Intellectus, Learning resistance, Neoliberalism
National Category
Economics and Business Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-212578DOI: 10.1108/GM-06-2022-0217ISI: 000888301400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85142359514OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-212578DiVA, id: diva2:1719816
Available from: 2022-12-16 Created: 2022-12-16 Last updated: 2023-04-17Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, Karin

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