Political signification of the entrepreneur: temporal analysis of constructs, agency and reification

Lew Perren, Charles Dannreuther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the political signification of the termentrepreneurin UK parliamentary debates over the past forty years. Following a review of the literature, a need is identified to understand the construction of the entrepreneur in political discourse. Concern here is not with the prosaic cataloguing of policies or definitions, but with exploring shifts in the discursive constructs of the entrepreneur that underlie political practice. To explore these constructions a large longitudinal dataset is systematically condensed, while maintaining sensitivity to the nuances of meaning. A corpus-based linguistics approach is undertaken. This combines the computational analysis of significant collocates, that is important words (concepts) that surround the termentrepreneur, with the richness of qualitative analysis. Patterns of reification, agency and structure are identified in the portrayed entrepreneurial constructs. The philosophical and practical implications of these patterns are discussed and proposals are made for using corpus techniques in international comparative analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-628
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2012


  • Entrepreneur
  • politics
  • discourse
  • construction
  • corpus analysis


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