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Women entrepreneurs and gender role issues in China: A Foucauldian discourse analysis

Klaisri, Pornpiya LU and Pinter, Andras LU (2014) ENTN19 20141
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
In recent years, women entrepreneurship has received much attention from both economic policy-makers and entrepreneurship researchers - women entrepreneurs are considered important for inno-vation and thus economic development. This is manifested in an increasing interest in, and a prolif-eration of writings on, the topic. A number of studies undertaken in recent years to investigate women entrepreneurship have employed discourse analysis approaches. However, research on women in the entrepreneurial context has been mostly conducted in relation to Western societies, moulding an image of the female entrepreneur that cannot be uphold in a different social and economic context — e.g. China. In this study it is argued that women... (More)
In recent years, women entrepreneurship has received much attention from both economic policy-makers and entrepreneurship researchers - women entrepreneurs are considered important for inno-vation and thus economic development. This is manifested in an increasing interest in, and a prolif-eration of writings on, the topic. A number of studies undertaken in recent years to investigate women entrepreneurship have employed discourse analysis approaches. However, research on women in the entrepreneurial context has been mostly conducted in relation to Western societies, moulding an image of the female entrepreneur that cannot be uphold in a different social and economic context — e.g. China. In this study it is argued that women entrepreneurship in China is a socially engineered and historically-situated discursive phenomena by scholars - as a catalyst for transformation, globalisation and wealth creation, while disregarding cultural and societal differences and adhering to the general assumption that women are different from and inferior to men.

Seen from the lens of a Foucauldian discursive approach, this study intends to carry out a discourse analysis of the social construction of women entrepreneurship in the broader context of China and the implication of this construction on the economic, socio-cultural and political reality. Our discur-sive approach encompasses 4 analytical devices to guide the analysis of a set of scholarly publication: (1) discursive constructions and interdiscursivity, (2) selective framing, (3) positioning, legitimisation and subjectivity (4) ideology and knowledge/power relations.

Women entrepreneurs in contemporary China are constructed as the overlooked and ignored actors in a transformational society. Hence, the discourse on entrepreneurship is established and perceived as an economic panacea, a new concept to empower women in society. Moreover, women entrepre-neurship as a discursive field draws upon earlier discourses on market-oriented economics, cultural and economic globalisation, and neo-liberal ideologies, and in doing so it changes cultural, social and economic reality. In other words, concomitant discourses promote, proclaim and legitimise women entrepreneurship. In addition, selective frames expose Chinese women entrepreneurs as profit seeking and competitive individuals, who adopt masculine traits and opportunistic behaviour, concealing the authors own subjectivity and the cultural link between oppression and gender. Therefore, women entrepreneurship in China is positioned by scholars and governmental institutions as a normative economic model to empower and liberate women. Finally, the discourse on Chinese women entrepreneurship is centered around and embedded in power relations, which carry different and concurring ideologies messages influencing the social perception of Chinese women. (Less)
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author
Klaisri, Pornpiya LU and Pinter, Andras LU
supervisor
organization
course
ENTN19 20141
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Foucault, economy, transformational, so-cial, political, gender, China, feminism, women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, culture, discourse
language
English
id
4469767
date added to LUP
2014-06-19 10:24:56
date last changed
2014-06-19 10:24:56
@misc{4469767,
  abstract     = {In recent years, women entrepreneurship has received much attention from both economic policy-makers and entrepreneurship researchers - women entrepreneurs are considered important for inno-vation and thus economic development. This is manifested in an increasing interest in, and a prolif-eration of writings on, the topic. A number of studies undertaken in recent years to investigate women entrepreneurship have employed discourse analysis approaches. However, research on women in the entrepreneurial context has been mostly conducted in relation to Western societies, moulding an image of the female entrepreneur that cannot be uphold in a different social and economic context — e.g. China. In this study it is argued that women entrepreneurship in China is a socially engineered and historically-situated discursive phenomena by scholars - as a catalyst for transformation, globalisation and wealth creation, while disregarding cultural and societal differences and adhering to the general assumption that women are different from and inferior to men.

Seen from the lens of a Foucauldian discursive approach, this study intends to carry out a discourse analysis of the social construction of women entrepreneurship in the broader context of China and the implication of this construction on the economic, socio-cultural and political reality. Our discur-sive approach encompasses 4 analytical devices to guide the analysis of a set of scholarly publication: (1) discursive constructions and interdiscursivity, (2) selective framing, (3) positioning, legitimisation and subjectivity (4) ideology and knowledge/power relations.

Women entrepreneurs in contemporary China are constructed as the overlooked and ignored actors in a transformational society. Hence, the discourse on entrepreneurship is established and perceived as an economic panacea, a new concept to empower women in society. Moreover, women entrepre-neurship as a discursive field draws upon earlier discourses on market-oriented economics, cultural and economic globalisation, and neo-liberal ideologies, and in doing so it changes cultural, social and economic reality. In other words, concomitant discourses promote, proclaim and legitimise women entrepreneurship. In addition, selective frames expose Chinese women entrepreneurs as profit seeking and competitive individuals, who adopt masculine traits and opportunistic behaviour, concealing the authors own subjectivity and the cultural link between oppression and gender. Therefore, women entrepreneurship in China is positioned by scholars and governmental institutions as a normative economic model to empower and liberate women. Finally, the discourse on Chinese women entrepreneurship is centered around and embedded in power relations, which carry different and concurring ideologies messages influencing the social perception of Chinese women.},
  author       = {Klaisri, Pornpiya and Pinter, Andras},
  keyword      = {Foucault,economy,transformational,so-cial,political,gender,China,feminism,women entrepreneurs,entrepreneurship,culture,discourse},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Women entrepreneurs and gender role issues in China: A Foucauldian discourse analysis},
  year         = {2014},
}