Inequalities in Entrepreneurship Opportunities: the intersectionality of contexts, situatedness, positionalities and identities

Closes:
Open for submissions 17 April 2022

Background

This special issue reopens the debate on Inequalities in Entrepreneurship Opportunities by providing a space for a dialogue between established intersectionality theories and the emerging relevant approaches of contextualized or situated positionality-based entrepreneurship. We invite manuscripts that examine entrepreneurship by looking at multiplied or amplified inequalities which can be explained, among others, through the concept of intersectionality. Capturing discrete combinations of multiple sources of disadvantage that individuals experience, intersectionality, originated from the work of Crenshaw (1991), has recently been utilised in the field of entrepreneurship, by Abbas et al. (2019), Dy et al. (2016), Barrett and Vershinina (2017) and Lassalle and Shaw (2021). Yet, there is a call to develop it further in entrepreneurship research. 

In this special issue, we welcome contributions which would either offer novel theoretical perspectives on intersectionality as a theory and a method in entrepreneurship research, as well as contributions that use contexts, situatedness or positionalities to analyse the inequalities in entrepreneurship opportunities. Perspectives on inequalities of entrepreneurship opportunities are situated in the poststructural frame (Ahl, 2006; Bruni et al., 2004; Ogbor, 2000) that understands the individual experiences and their subjectivity to be continuously shaped and dynamically constituted through engagement with cultural discourses and learning to occur at the intersections of negotiating positionality and identity amidst contradictory discourses (Fenwick, 2002). Extant studies in entrepreneurship negate the role of positionality in shaping entrepreneurial experiences of individuals, and their access to opportunities, and individual’s ability to respond to these emerging opportunities apart from a few notable studies (Villares-Varela and Essers, 2019; Dy, 2020). 

The feminist intersectional approach (Carbado et al., 2013; Crenshaw, 1989;  Collins, 1990; Forson, 2013; Hancock, 2007; Hooks, 1981) seeks to understand the connections between the multiple axes of oppression and exclusion and reveals that these markers of identity are not simply additive. They constitute a distinct marginalised experience and a set of multiple overlapping subjectivities. Recognizing the situatedness of individuals in a specific context can help develop useful explanations of their marginalised experiences. The stories through which specific identities emerge for a particular individual, do not occur in a vacuum, rather they are situated in the context and as such identities are highly contingent on situated accomplishments. Further, it is important to examine the appropriateness of intersectionality theory in different and diverse contexts. 

Entrepreneurship occurs in various spatial dynamics and urban, cosmopolitan and rural contexts that are associated with physical locations in different places and spaces, including migration flows (Barrett and Vershinina, 2019; Vershinina et al., 2019; Yamamura and Lassalle, 2019). By exploring accounts of intersectional experiences, papers in the special issue can amplify the silenced voices from around the world. Indeed, we know little about the stratification of societies in non-western geographies. Therefore, it is important to develop intersectionality in entrepreneurship, focusing on empirical, methodological and theoretical developments (Essers et al., 2010; Lassalle and Shaw, 2021), towards, among others, a more translocational positionality based approach (Anthias, 2008; 2013) to exploring inequalities in entrepreneurship opportunities (see also Villares-Varela et al., 2018). 

Within entrepreneurship research, situational analyses as well as context and its dimensions (Fenwick, 2002; Villares-Varela and Essers, 2019; Welter and Baker, 2020) have been largely examined in stable, mainstream economies rather than precarious or volatile ones. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the world’s economies have been abruptly thrust into unexpected adversity and unpredictability. This has renewed the need for understanding context beyond merely environment (Johns, 2018), and for considering how entrepreneurs ‘do’ context (Welter and Baker, 2020), and how such ‘doing’ - entrepreneurs’ agency - is affected by the entrepreneurs’ individual markers of identity (Dy et al., 2014). There is a call to study how situational analysis is contextualised and its implications will be significantly affected by new and ever-changing contexts in entrepreneurship research and theorization.

In their effort to make sense of the different levels of exclusion they experience, discriminated individuals may certainly feel even more excluded than those aligned with normative patterns. However, it is interesting to observe how they manage to re-interpret these differences through entrepreneurial initiatives. For instance, Stead (2017) explores how women entrepreneurs are able to mobilize more resources and influence by deploying tactics of belonging in which they either erase their differences or accentuate them depending on the networks or markets they target. In this context, an examination into how marginalized entrepreneurs make attempts to interpret and/or reinterpret their differences may help observe how these individuals narrate the different levels of discrimination that may characterize them. Another example concerns sexual and ethnic minorities, as Ghabrial (2017) highlights the difficulties for the individuals concerned to identify with a normative group but also successes in creating socially and economically active micro-communities. Ghabrial (2017) goes further to discuss how these individuals develop pride in their multi-differences and may present them as a privilege. To better support populations challenged by their differences, it would be useful to explore in what contexts they can reverse their perception of marginalization to enact agency in their formal or informal endeavors.

Beyond this call for applying intersectional theory on a wider diversity of situated contexts, there is also a need to better frame intersectionality theory, developed by Crenshaw (1991), McCall (2005) or Cho et al. (2011), in entrepreneurship research. Martinez Dy et al. (2014) recall the complexity of the “intersectional” and suggest that current approaches remain underdeveloped or do not sufficiently reflect reality, especially the privileged situations of some persons on others. Most of the identified current limits of intersectionality support the call for situating the experiences of individuals (Tholen, 2015 ; Magrelli et al., 2020). Moreover, a better integration of both agency and structure is required to reflect the real situation of persons facing specific issues while engaging in entrepreneuring (Beckert, 1999 ; Lassalle and Shaw, 2021). Intersectional theory indeed needs to account for the evolving context of individual agents, as entrepreneurs, operating under constraining structures (Lassalle and Shaw, 2021). So far, intersectional research has often struggled to consider individual trajectories of entrepreneurs and their relation to entrepreneurial opportunity, placing deprived entrepreneurs in a stigmatized category.

To further integrate the notion of power as the relational and pivotal force in explaining the social positions individuals hold, Anthias’ positionality approach incorporates a dynamic perspective of difference by considering social positions as both processes and outcomes (Anthias 2002, 2006, 2008, 2013). Complementing (and partly departing from intersectionality), positionality helps to grasp the multiplicity of social positions that entrepreneurs have. Anthias (2002) further incorporates time and space into this crucial theoretical impasse through translocational positionality which ‘is one structured by the interplay of different locations relating to gender, ethnicity, race and class (among others), and their at times contradictory effects’ (Anthias 2002: 275). In entrepreneurship studies, translocational positionality (Villares-Varela and Essers 2019) can help us to understand the multiple social positions embodied by entrepreneurs in organisations, at home and, in multiple geographical locations (for example, for migrant and/or transnational entrepreneurs). By focusing on diverse groups of people that may have vastly different entrepreneurial experiences based on their positionality across various axes of difference and the range of other intersecting realities, the researchers may uncover how individuals perceive the entrepreneurial opportunities and which intersections can make them marginalised and oppressed. The motivations for engaging in entrepreneurship may be aligned to the way in which they perceive opportunities for freedom and flexibility but also a choice of sectors, new forms of flexible work, new ways of aesthetic entrepreneurship, which are performed and shaped within and by virtual spaces such as social media. 

Methodologically, it may be difficult to articulate an intersectional approach and a contextualised approach. Indeed, referring to Welter (2019), the study of context raises the question of its impact on an individual's identity. Yet, some insights are provided in different studies using translocational positionality (Villares-Varela and Essers 2019), or by deploying structuration theory as the ontology for intersectional research in entrepreneurship (Lassalle and Shaw, 2021). These studies enable a finer capture of the specific situations experienced by - among others - female migrant entrepreneurs but could be applied to a wider diversity of entrepreneurs. Such situated intersectional approaches to entrepreneurship enhance our understanding of the intersectional nature of entrepreneurial experiences, not only through categories -- class, gender, or race, but shed light on the dynamic nature of how these markers of identity situate and are situated in a specific context and under specific structures, where individual is engaging in entrepreneurial activity. 

The national territory, its memory and its political practices determine the understanding of the categories of intersectionality. But, the calculation of the poverty line is not the same in Europe, Asia, Middle East or the Americas. From there, national politics also has an impact on the interaction between the categories of intersectionality. Perhaps one could consider to showcase their work that clarifies what we mean by "inequalities in entrepreneurial opportunities" -- inequality of resources (post-materialist feminism), legitimacy or lack thereof, self-efficacy or self-confidence, and general difficulty in aligning entrepreneurial motivations and resources with existing Western normative models.

Therefore, the aim of this special issue is to establish an open critical debate and to offer a provocative space to discuss inequalities in entrepreneurship beyond original ideas of intersectionality, by bringing translocational positionality and situated context in defining new intersectional perspectives that can explain the marginalised experiences of contemporary groups of entrepreneurs. In bringing the current research on contemporary entrepreneurship which happens in urban, rural, cosmopolitan settings, in emerging industries, and new geographical locations of Global South by old and new groups of entrepreneurs, whose identities are shaped by gendered norms, and gendered structures, sectoral experiences and new technologies and social media, this special issue has the potential to challenge the existing conceptualisations of heroic masculine icon and their high growth venturing and unearth the heterogeneity of who is the contemporary entrepreneur, and how their experiences in entrepreneurship are marginalising and shaped by dynamic intersecting contexts. 

 

Research Questions may include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Which aspects of intersectionality theory have been under-researched by entrepreneurship scholars? 
  2. What new criteria should intersectionality theory integrate in the study of entrepreneurship? Specifically, how can we consider and apply intersectionality theory when notions of gender, as well as femininity and masculinity, evolve? 
  3. Does intersectionality allow for a better understanding of the specific difficulties/inequalities of certain groups that accumulate the same types of differences when they undertake entrepreneurial activity? 
  4. Intersectionality can shed light on experiences of marginalization. How can we connect these experiences of marginalization to the entrepreneurial experience of singularity and idiosyncrasy? 
  5. How do entrepreneurs engage with multiple identities and the multiplicity of their social positions as individuals and entrepreneurs? 
  6. How does the social positionality of entrepreneurs influence their experiences of marginalisation? How can the theory of translocation positionality help understand these influences, processes and practice? 
  7. What is the role of space and place in shaping the trajectories and strategies of entrepreneurs? How can we further theorise notions of class, privilege and power in entrepreneurship? 
  8. What are the ways in which entrepreneurship scholars can initiate a dialogue between intersectionality theory, entrepreneur’s associated positionality (Villares-Varela and Essers, 2019) and the emerging concept of context (Welter and Baker, 2020) 
  9. Beyond traditional deductive methodologies, what kind of research design is the most appropriate to grasp and trace signs of intersectionality and context in entrepreneurship and inequality?
  10. How does the intersectional approach help us understand entrepreneurial motivation, inequality embedded in entrepreneurial opportunities or possible discouragements?
  11. How does the entrepreneurial process impact entrepreneurs' perceptions of the interactions between gender, race (cultural affiliation), and class in the way they develop their products and/or services?
  12. Do territorial policies and cultural contexts have an impact on entrepreneurs' engagement with gender, class and race? Can we compare territorial policies? 
  13. How can the notion of intersectionality be integrated into the modalities of entrepreneurial support? 

 

Submission Guidelines:

We invite both conceptual, theoretical and empirical papers for this special issue. All submissions are subject to the standard double-blind review process. Manuscripts must be original, unpublished works not concurrently under review for publication at another outlet and are expected to follow the standard formatting guidelines for the IJEBR journal. The submission window opens 17 April 2022. Submissions must be made though the Manuscript Central site at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijebr by 17 August 2022. When submitting your manuscript, please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submissions should be prepared according to the Author Guidelines found at https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/ijebr#author-guidelines

 

References 

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Anthias, F., 2002. Beyond feminism and multiculturalism: Locating difference and the politics of location. Women’s Studies International Forum, 25(3): 275–286.

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Anthias, F., 2013. Hierarchies of social location, class and intersectionality: Towards a translocational frame. International Sociology 28(1): 121–138.

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​​Guest Editorial Team:

Natalia Vershinina is a Full Professor of Entrepreneurship, Audencia Business School in Nantes, France who previously worked for De Montfort University and University of Birmingham in the UK. She is an Associate Editor of Entrepreneurship & Regional Development and International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research Journals. In her work Natalia has researched how entrepreneurship intersects with ethnicity, gender and family business contexts and her latest work is on motherhood, impact of online communities for development of confidence and legitimacy amongst women, and finally transitions to self-employment and entrepreneurship of women in couples. Her latest works have been published in Small Business Economics, International Business Review, Gender, Work and Organization, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Business Research, and International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research. 

Renaud Redien-Collot is a Researcher in Entrepreneurship at ISC Paris Grande Ecole, France. After several years of professional experience, he has defended his Ph.D at Columbia University in New York City in 2002 and received the French accreditation to supervise doctoral research in Sciences of Management (Habilitation à diriger des recherches), 6th CNU division, in 2017. He is an Affiliated Researcher at Laboratoire REGARDS Research in Economy & Management, Green Business, Healthcare & Sustainability (EA 6292), University of Reims, Champagne Ardennes. His areas of interest are entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and gender, the motivational patterns and cognitive dimensions of entrepreneurial decision making processes, entrepreneurial ecosystems, SMEs cooperation. His latest work is published in Journal of Enterprising Culture, Revue de l’Entrepreneuriat, The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, International Review of Entrepreneurship, Entreprendre Innover, Journal of Small Business Management. 

Séverine Le Loarne - Lemaire is a Full Professor of Entrepreneurship at Grenoble Ecole de Management and chair holder of the Research Chair “Female Entrepreneurship for a Renewed Economy” and affiliated researcher at the University of Grenoble (CERAG). She is also co-head of the GEM les Premières incubator that is devoted to women entrepreneurs in deprived economic zones and she represents France for the OECD Global Report on Women entrepreneurs. Her research work refers to Women Entrepreneurship, especially the family role in the entrepreneurial process of women, and women’s place within innovation processes. Her research has been published in many peer reviewed journal in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation, such as Technological Forecasting and Social Change, IJERB, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development… She also signed several manuals by Pearson Edition.

Haya Al-Dajani a Full Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the MBA’s Signature Learning Experience at the Mohammed Bin Salman College for Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC). In her academic career prior to joining MBSC, included posts at the University of Strathclyde, University of East Anglia, and the University of Plymouth in the UK. Her award winning research focuses upon the intersectionality of gender, entrepreneurship and empowerment, and their collective impact on sustainable development. Within this research arena, Haya works on women’s entrepreneurship, cultural heritage entrepreneurship, refugee entrepreneurship, social innovation for poverty alleviation, and enabling entrepreneurship, to understand how entrepreneurship can be a vehicle and catalyst for sustainable development. Her research has been published in leading academic journals including Journal of Business Ethics, British Journal of Management, International Small Business Journal, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development and Gender, Work and Organisation.

Maria Villares-Varela is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology Department at the University of Southampton, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Her research explores work and employment relations in migrant firms, with a particular focus on gendered and classed-based experiences of work. She has published her research in a wide range of journals. She is a member of the Associate Board of journals such as Work, Employment & Society and Sociology.

Dr Paul Lassalle is a Lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde. He studied sociology and political sciences at Sciences Po Paris and is conducting research on societal issues of diversity and migration in entrepreneurship. He publishes in both leading entrepreneurship and migration journals, such as Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. His most recent publications include works on intersectionality in entrepreneurship, as well as research on superdiversity in Glasgow and on migrant entrepreneurs’ diversification strategies. For his research engagements, he also collaborates with the Scottish Government and with institutions supporting migrant entrepreneurs in the establishment and the development of their new venture.