Dr. Alan Southern will be giving a talk at the Business School on the 5th March 2014 entitled:

Entrepreneurship may well be precarious, but is there a precarity of enterprise?

The term ‘precarity’ is a relatively new term, a neologism that has drawn attention from academics in Western Europe and North America in recent years. Much of this work has been in relation to precarious conditions experienced in the labour markets of mainly ‘developed’ nations and little attention has been paid to its usefulness as a concept applied to the social phenomenon of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Perhaps this is because in a general sense, the field of entrepreneurship has an associated positive discourse. However it is also a discourse that has been dominated by neoliberal ideas about the heroic entrepreneur who exploits opportunities and supports economic growth, a modern day alchemist turning metal into gold through the mechanism of the market.

Too often this discourse is left unchallenged and in this seminar I adopt a critical perspective on the field of entrepreneurship and look at its precarious nature in two ways. The first is to challenge the positive perspective of entrepreneurship by demonstrating evidence of precariousness. The second is to consider how ideas on precarity and the precariat relate to entrepreneurship and people who run small enterprises in an intensely globalized political economy, with high public and private debt and austerity crises. Such dynamics mean the as yet unanswered question to explore here is whether precarity should be considered as an ontological condition in entrepreneurship or if there is indeed, a concept that provides meaningful explanation of the way enterprise and entrepreneurship is currently being shaped.

About the speaker:

Dr. Alan Southern’s research interests are focused on enterprise, self-employment and community-based assets in low income communities. Before joining the Management School in Liverpool he worked at the University of Durham where he was the co-founder of the Regeneration Management Research Network. At Liverpool he has played a leading and strategic role in the University’s international development of on-line learning.  In recent years he led the Small Business Research Trust quarterly report on small business trends and has published in the field of enterprise and deprivation, regeneration and the Liverpool local economy.