Dissertation defence (Entrepreneurship): Candidate of Science Anna Elkina

Anna Elkina, Candidate of Science (in Economics), defends the dissertation in Entrepreneurship titled “Unfolding identity work during an entrepreneurial journey. An autoethnographic study” at the University of Turku on 12 April 2024 at 12.00 (Turku School of Economics, Osuuskauppa lecture hall, Rehtoripellonkatu 3, Turku).

The audience can participate in the defence by remote access: https://utu.zoom.us/j/67407549507 (copy the link to the browser).

Opponent: Professor Chris Steyaert (St.Gallen University, Switzerland)
Custos: Professor Jarna Heinonen (University of Turku)

Doctoral Dissertation at UTUPub: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-9642-1


Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation:

Entrepreneurship is often considered a remedy for economic, social, and currently even environmental diseases and is discussed within the context of economic growth, employment and overall non-stagnant development of humankind. However, it is also about people, about our relationships, our needs and desires, about becoming rich or poor, about successes and failures, about curiosity and learning, about taking risks and experiencing uncertainty. Thus, entrepreneurship is also about individuals and their journey.

In the autoethnographic study, I present and analyse my own experience of entrepreneuring. This methodological approach allows to reveal how the entrepreneurial becoming is experienced from within a person. I focus, for example, on identity conflicts and their resolutions that took place during the entrepreneurial journey.

I suggest that in the process of entrepreneuring, identity work unfolds through the experiences of in-betweenness: in-between the gendered roles one plays in society or in-between multiple (and multiplying) constructions of entrepreneurship one absorbs and reproduces. In practice, it might also mean, for example, that some cross-border migrants expose their liminal identity by organizing a business that relies on their national identity (cooking national cuisine, language teaching, organizing cultural events).

On the other hand, the autoethnographic study invites the reader to critically revise practices and discourses that constitute the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. In this study, entrepreneuring is understood as a process of creative organizing that is deeply embedded in other practices of everyday life. Therefore, I suggest that affective experiences that often reflect this embeddedness are not mere disturbances or restrictions for entrepreneuring, as they are often seen, but rather sources of creativity that can enhance the finding of new solutions to the existing problems.
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