Context is Everything

So I am currently musing over the words context and contextualization. This may not be surprising given that my edited collection Women and Global Entrepreneurship: Contextualising Everyday Experiences with Professor James Cunningham is due for submission in September. It has been said that I love context and for me, context in research (and in life) is not just the background story but is part of the story. In fact, entrepreneurship including women entrepreneurship is never conducted in a void; it is never context-less. Context is much more than just a passing reference to the particular domain or setting in which a study has been conducted or as a means of justifying unusual and /or unique findings or to report theory-free research. However, researchers to date have failed to be explicit in regards to how they understand and employ context in their particular study. This is worrying as context plays a critical role in new venture creation and a dynamic influence on entrepreneurial propensity, attitudes, and actions as it simultaneously provides individuals with entrepreneurial opportunities and constraints. It is also important to note that context is not just geographical but also refers to socio-economic, political, market, and institutional. Thus, a multiplicity of influences shape everyday entrepreneurship experiences.

Contextualising women’s entrepreneurship

The emergence of a focused and explicit discussion about context is relatively new within entrepreneurship and is particularly relevant in relation to women’s entrepreneurship. However, context is not a construct which only applies to those economies and situations which differ from the presumed norm of Western developed nations; adopting this stance is both discriminatory, myopic and blinkered in that it suggests a dominant model to which others should aspire. Consequently, adopting a more critical appraisal of how context is positioned within current theorising around gender and entrepreneurial behaviours offers potential to progress debate whilst acknowledging that competing and contrasting contextual influences require clearer recognition.

So coming soon Women and Global Entrepreneurship: Contextualising Everyday Experiences with Routledge Publishing.

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