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Unmasking the Entrepreneur

Campbell Jones, University of Auckland, New Zealand and André Spicer, Cass Business School, UK
This book asks what lies behind the friendly face of the entrepreneur. It challenges the widespread idea that entrepreneurship is a necessary and good thing, subjecting ‘the entrepreneur’ to critical analysis. Unmasking the Entrepreneur demonstrates the socially embedded nature of entrepreneurship and considers the history, ethics and politics of entrepreneurship. Drawing on a range of ideas from critical social theory and philosophy, it investigates entrepreneurship in unusual places such as among illegal immigrants and revolutionary France. Ultimately, this book offers a unique and powerful critique of the very idea of the entrepreneur.
Extent: 160 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84542 654 5
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $42.00 Web: $33.60
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 844 5
Availability: In Stock
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  • eISBN: 978 1 78195 268 9

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  • Business and Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Organisation Studies
This book asks what lies behind the friendly face of the entrepreneur. It challenges the widespread idea that entrepreneurship is a necessary and good thing, subjecting ‘the entrepreneur’ to critical analysis. Unmasking the Entrepreneur demonstrates the socially embedded nature of entrepreneurship and considers the history, ethics and politics of entrepreneurship. Drawing on a range of ideas from critical social theory and philosophy, it investigates entrepreneurship in unusual places such as among illegal immigrants and revolutionary France. Ultimately, this book offers a unique and powerful critique of the very idea of the entrepreneur.
‘Jones and Spicer have articulately organised the text to engage in a process of creative destruction that truly succeeds in the theoretical and philosophical unmasking of the entrepreneur. Very few books in management or economics have as broad a scope or as profound a reach as Jones and Spicer’s analysis. Whatever criticisms it may provoke, especially from scholars with specialised interests and concerns, Jones and Spicer’s book is nothing short of “top-drawer”. Unmasking the Entrepreneur is an important, thoughtful and thought provoking analysis of the topic of entrepreneurship. This book is sure to have an enduring impact on the way we think about and study entrepreneurship.’
– Chitvan Trivedi, The Journal of Entrepreneurship

‘Unmasking the Entrepreneur is a highly critical and ambitious book. . . The synthesis between entrepreneurship studies and philosophy was accomplished well. . .’
– Antje Bednarek, The Sociological Review

‘This book by Jones and Spicer provides a thought-provoking contribution through its agenda, conceptual underpinnings and implications. The authors draw upon their previous work and publications, although the book is substantially more than a collation of already-published materials. Their style is clear and the message uncompromising. . . I would envisage that the book would be of interest to serious researchers of small business and entrepreneurship and of use on Master’s and PhD programmes. . . The book should also be of interest to those in the “enterprise industry” to realize and understand the implication of the programmes and expectations put upon entrepreneurs.’
– Robert Blackburn, Management Learning

‘“Entrepreneurship” has been used to describe so many different kinds of situations that it has become, essentially, meaningless as a concept. This book critically examines taken-for-granted views of entrepreneurship and offers many needed insights into entrepreneurship’s economic, social, political, and moral characteristics. By “unmasking” the entrepreneur, Jones and Spicer reveal the different roles entrepreneurial actors play, as well as set the stage on which other characters come to the forefront in the entrepreneurial process. Through the use of some innovative exemplars, the authors demonstrate that the leading players in the phenomena of entrepreneurship are more often “others” rather than the entrepreneurs we want to believe in.’
– Professor William B. Gartner, Clemson University, US

‘In an accessible and focused book, Jones and Spicer unmask the pretensions, presuppositions, and prejudices of entrepreneurship discourse. Their critique is multifaceted, well-illustrated, and affirmative. What do the authors find behind the mask of the entrepreneur: a grim smile, a phantom, just another mask, or the face of the other? Readers will enjoy the suspense as they watch this alternative unfolding of entrepreneurship. Moreover, this timely book will provide momentum to the emergence of a critical theory of entrepreneurship. Its philosophical and ethical positioning offers profound guidance and sturdy inspiration for all scholars wanting to contribute to the critical turn in entrepreneurship studies in the years to come.’
– Professor Chris Steyaert, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

‘In this critical tour de force, Jones and Spicer take aim at the figure of the entrepreneur that has loomed so large in programmes of political and organizational reform over the last three decades. Drawing on an impressively wide range of sources, they offer a timely and disturbing meditation on a category of personhood whose ideals of conduct we are all increasingly expected to imitate, no matter how perverse this injunction turns out to be. This is a fascinating and original text, that offers a sustained, sideways look at one of the key characters of our times.’
– Professor Paul du Gay, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Contents: 1. ‘I Am An Entrepreneur’ 2. For a Critical Theory of Entrepreneurship 3. The Sublime Object of Entrepreneurship 4. The Birth of the Entrepreneur 5. Entrepreneurial Excess 6. Is the Marquis de Sade an Entrepreneur? 7. Every Age Gets the Entrepreneur it Deserves 8. Enterprise of the Other 9. What Remains References Index