The Entrepreneurial Age: Rethinking Entrepreneurship in Society

Name of applicant

Christina Lubinski




Copenhagen Business School


DKK 19,988,350



Type of grant

Semper Ardens: Advance


We study entrepreneurship as a discourse and model for social action. As managers urge their employees to become more entrepreneurial and newspapers debate the controversial role of the entrepreneurial “gig economy”, we want to understand how entrepreneurship as a social discourse shapes society. The proposed research group with scholars from entrepreneurship, history, and law examines the past, present, and future of the discourse of entrepreneurialism in Denmark in comparative perspective, to advance an alternative to the (too) widely generalized model of US entrepreneurship typically molded after Silicon Valley success stories. What is the influence of entrepreneurship beyond the marketplace? And how does entrepreneurship shape our understanding of social inequality, careers, and how to approach grand societal challenges?


Entrepreneurship is often defined as the pursuit of opportunities. Yet, entrepreneurship has also evolved into an important organizing principle in economy and society. Free-lancers pursuing “entrepreneurial” careers increasingly replace traditional forms of employment, and charities and government institutions alike strive to become more entrepreneurial. The social discourse of entrepreneurship reshapes organizational forms and social relationships. This interdisciplinary research group explores the social mechanisms by which entrepreneurialism links to processes of social change and advances a temporal perspective on entrepreneurship, examining how the discourse of entrepreneurship evokes the past in projecting a plausible and compelling future. The results of this work will formulate a new field of research on "entrepreneurialism" as the social discourse of entrepreneurship. Understanding entrepreneurialism is core to critically reviewing the various activities described as entrepreneurship and to exploring how this discourse shapes broad processes of social change.


We study the past, present, and future of the discourse of entrepreneurship in Denmark in interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. In three work packages, we focus on analyzing the discourse of individual agency (as found in legal contracts and policies), the discourse of social change and transformation (as reflected in policy, educational, and popular texts), and the symbolism of entrepreneurship (to be reconstructed from images and imaginaries of venturing). We use key evidence produced in the process of venturing, and interpret it not only in terms of direct meanings but also hermeneutically in relationship to its broader socio-historical context. These interpretations allow us to see how particular forms of entrepreneurial agents and agency are legitimized, the social consequences entrepreneurship is imagined to create, and the cultural symbols that tie together individual action and social change.

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