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And now I’m free’: Women’s empowerment and emancipation through entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Management & Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6843-4038
2018 (English)In: Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, ISSN 0898-5626, E-ISSN 1464-5114, Vol. 30, no 7-8, p. 877-900Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Critical perspectives have called for the study of women’s entrepreneurship as a route to social change. This ‘social turn’ claims women are empowered and/or emancipated through entrepreneurship with limited problematisation of how these interchangeably used concepts operate. Using an institutional perspective in combination with a narrative approach, we investigate women entrepreneurs’ life stories on their ‘road to freedom’ where entrepreneurial activity enables them to ‘break free’ from particular gendered constraints. Through juxtaposing women’s narratives in the contexts of Saudi Arabia and Sweden, the relationship between empowerment and emancipation is disentangled and (re)conceptualised. The findings distinguish between empowerment narrated as individual practices to achieve freedom for the self within institutional structures and emancipation as narrated as a wish to challenge and change structures of power and reach collative freedom. The yearning for collective emancipation propels women’s stories of entrepreneurship by raising expectations for entrepreneurship as a vehicle for institutional change. Such stories may fascinate and inspire others to engage in entrepreneurial endeavours to become empowered, but whether they reach emancipation remains an empirical question to be answered. The performative dimension of entrepreneurial narratives is, however, their ability to turn emancipation into an (un)reachable object of desire, with a quest for even more individual empowerment and entrepreneurial activity, at the same time excluding other forms of human conduct as conducive for change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 30, no 7-8, p. 877-900
Keywords [en]
Women’s entrepreneurship, life stories, empowerment and emancipation, Crosscultural contexts, seeking freedom, institutional change, narrative approach
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165080DOI: 10.1080/08985626.2018.1500645OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165080DiVA, id: diva2:1281207
Available from: 2019-01-21 Created: 2019-01-21 Last updated: 2019-11-28Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
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More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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