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Bass -

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Creating Cultural Capital: Cultural Entrepreneurship in Theory, Pedagogy and Practice


In business schools, research and pedagogy in entrepreneurship focus on new venture creation and management. Developing individuals to think like an entrepreneur and adopt an ‘entrepreneurial identity’ enables them to more effectively build and grow businesses and enjoy financial success. However, the assumption that all entrepreneurs desire financial success may not hold across non-business entrepreneurs. For example, for artists, sacrificing for arts’ sake - or enjoying artistic success at the hands of financial success - is a constant struggle. This ‘artist identity’ stands in stark contrast to the ‘entrepreneurial identity’. Artists create to satisfy an artistic need, rather than a market opportunity. Given the continuing decay of artistic endeavours due to the lack of financial support, we ask: can these identities be reconciled so that the artist can be a successful entrepreneur? To explore this question, we turn to identity theory for insight into the differences in identities of entrepreneurs and artists. Building on findings from identity theory and entrepreneurship pedagogy research, we develop a framework for an identity reconciliation process that artist-entrepreneurs experience. For researchers, this framework suggests artist-entrepreneurs are a unique form of entrepreneur, and that identity plays a central role in the artist’s creative and financial success. For pedagogues, this framework unveils that designing curricula around the theoretical roots and approaches of identity research can help these individuals grapple with identity-issues to more successfully breed entrepreneurship among artists.


This is a chapter in Creating Cultural Capital: Cultural Entrepreneurship in Theory, Pedagogy and Practice and is co-authored by University of Nebraska at Omaha faculty, Dr. A. Erin Bass.

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