The unsettling charm of entrepreneurship : neoliberal governmentality and micropopulism in El Salvador




Gutierrez, Julio Cesar

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The present work deals with the ideological implications of entrepreneurship discourse in El Salvador. I argue that through entrepreneurship discourse, the notions of self-employment in this context are currently shifting from dominant understandings of it as a source of income to one which defines it as a mechanism for self and social improvement. I examine how this shift in meaning is an ongoing process among young middle-income self-employed groups where divisions between people who start up a business by necessity and those who do it for profit opportunities blur due to the highly motivational component of entrepreneurship discourse. This aspect of entrepreneurship is able to generate a great level of excitement around the idea of starting a new business by interacting with local imaginaries of citizenship thus creating a new form of small scale populism or micropopulism. I argue that this process advocates for a resilient rationality in which confrontations with things like exploitation and precarious work dismiss the possibility for profound structural changes in favor of atomized forms of action that reaffirm capitalist relations.


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