‘Screw It, Let’s Do It’: The Ideological Fantasy of Entrepreneurial Subjectivity

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The entrepreneur has become the hallmark of the present enterprise culture. Rather than referring exclusively to the launching of new ventures, entrepreneurship assumes a quality that all members of post-bureaucratic
organizations should possess. However, research into the traits of the entrepreneur has proved to be unfruitful. The consistent failure to map the defining characteristics of the entrepreneurial figure has lead critical scholars to
view the entrepreneurial subject as a mythical and ideological constructs that function to covers up a fundamental lack. While we agree that the entrepreneurial subject is best viewed as an ideological fantasy, we maintain that this fantasy is not marked by lack. On the contrary, it is a fantasy that is continuously fuelled and reinforced through various ‘cultural circuits’, including stories of successful entrepreneurs circulating in social media. However, relying
upon Žižek’s insight that ideology operates on the level of action rather than the level of conscious belief, we investigate the ideological fantasies that are conveyed through stories reporting the actions of successful entrepreneurs. Tapping into the self-narrative of Richard Branson, widely considered one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, we investigate how the anecdotes and visual representations of his narrative constitute two ideological logics of entrepreneurship. These two logics are notably the logic of transgression (you should overcome yourself) and the logic of authenticity (you should be yourself). Instead of constituting a coherent ideological fantasy, these three logics are inconsistent, which points to the internal contradiction within the ideological fantasy of entrepreneurship. The paper concludes with critical reflections upon the critical discourse on entrepreneurship and its seemingly underestimation of the force of the entrepreneurship discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract for SCOS 2014 : Sport, Play and Game
EditorsJeroen Vermeulen, Martijn Koster, Michel van Slobbe, Eugène Loos, Jeroen Veldman, Nicole Wojcik
Place of PublicationUtrecht
PublisherUtrecht University
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 32nd Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism. SCOS 2014 - Utrecht University School of Governance, Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 7 Jul 201410 Jul 2014
Conference number: 32


ConferenceThe 32nd Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism. SCOS 2014
LocationUtrecht University School of Governance
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