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Whither governmentality research? A case study of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur in the French epistemological tradition

Wohin steuert die Gouvernementalitätsforschung? Eine Fallstudie zur Gouvernementalisierung 'des Unternehmers' im Anschluss an die französische epistemologische Tradition
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Marttila, Tomas

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Abstract Foucaultian governmentality research has turned out a very powerful tool for analyzing social processes and logics involved in recent appreciation of the entrepreneur as the role model for the conduct of states, organizations and private businesses. However, the lack of interest in further methodological elaboration of governmentality research has left it unclear how the particular theoretical perspective of governmentality researchers influences their empirical observations. The principal aim of this article is to overcome the methodological deficit in governmentality research and indicate one possible way of how the theoretical, methodological, and empirical levels of analysis could be interlinked in a consistent and scrutinizable manner. The suggestion presented for methodologization of governmentality research draws on the methodological insights gained in the French epistemological tradition by Gaston Bachelard, Pierre Bourdieu, Georges Canguilhem, Rainer Diaz-Bone and Michel Foucault. It is argued that the reflexive methodology and its key methodological principles of epistemological break and holistic methodology as they were developed in the French epistemological tradition provide a number of instructive insights on how to join the theoretical, methodological and empirical levels of analysis. However, this article goes beyond methodological discussion and applies the elaborated methodological instructions to a case study on the governmentalization of entrepreneur in Swedish governmental discourse.
Keywords France; cognition; knowledge; cognitive interest; epistemology; governmentality; entrepreneur; research approach; research deficit; conception; evaluation; Bourdieu, P.; Foucault, M.; discourse analysis; methodology; grounded theory; neoliberalism
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods; Research Design; Organizational Sociology; Sociology of Economics
Free Keywords Gaston Bachelard; Georges Canguilhem; Rainer Diaz-Bone; governmentality studies; governmentality research; French epistemological tradition; reflexive methodology; governmentalization of the entrepreneur; Swedish governmental discourse; holistic methodology; epistemological break; entrepreneurship research
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 293-331
Journal Historical Social Research, 38 (2013) 4
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works