Volume 14, No. 3, Art. 10 – September 2013

Whither Governmentality Research? A Case Study of the Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in the French Epistemological Tradition

Tomas Marttila

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.

Key words: Gaston Bachelard; Pierre Bourdieu; Georges Canguilhem; Rainer Diaz-Bone; Michel Foucault; governmentality studies; governmentality research; French epistemological tradition; reflexive methodology; discourse analysis; governmentalization of the entrepreneur; grounded theory methodology; Swedish governmental discourse; holistic methodology; epistemological break; entrepreneurship research; neoliberal government

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Governmentality Studies

2.1 Structuralist epistemology of government

2.2 Phenomenal structure of government

2.3 French epistemological tradition and reflexive methodology

3. Research Design

4. Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in Swedish Governmental Discourse

4.1 Type I: Entrepreneur—the "spearhead" of the economy (1991-1994)

4.2 Type II: Entrepreneur—the active subject of society (1994-1998)

4.3 Type III: Entrepreneur—the creative subject (1997-2004)

5. Governmentalizations of the Entrepreneur: An Overview

6. Concluding Reflections







1. Introduction

Over the past 20 years, the entrepreneur has become the role model for the conduct of states, organizations and enterprises. As ROSE (1999, p.145) observes, the entrepreneur has become the "image of a mode of activity for 'schools', 'universities', 'hospitals', 'business organizations', 'families', etc." This kind of "governmentalization of the entrepreneur," that is, the government of the objects of government by means of promoting and facilitating their "enterprising" activities and qualities, has led to an overall "entrepreneurialization" of the social today (BÜHRMANN, 2006, §1f.; cf. MILLER & ROSE, 1990, p.8).1) The overall entrepreneurialization of the social becomes visible when [1]

social organizations, institutions and even individual subjects are required to adapt "enterprising qualities—such as self-reliance, personal responsibility, boldness and willingness to take risks in the pursuit of goals ..." (DU GAY, 1996, p.56; cf. BURCHELL, 1993). In particular, post-structuralist (e.g. BÜHRMANN, 2006; DU GAY, 1996; MARTTILA, 2013), social constructivist (e.g. JONES & SPICER, 2009; STEYERT & KATZ, 2004) and deconstructivist (e.g. OGBOR, 2000) approaches have shed some light on how "ideational systems, institutions and belief systems produce and shape the pattern of entrepreneurship in contemporary society" (OGBOR, 2000, p.630). Not least, governmentality research that has become increasingly important in social sciences since the late 1980s, has rendered outstanding contributions to transformational processes and constitutive logics involved in extending the governmentalization of the entrepreneur from private business to other areas of the society. Governmentality studies initiated by Michel FOUCAULT, a French philosopher and social scientist, have observed how the entrepreneur has acquired an increasingly hegemonic status as the activities, rationalities and modes of conduct associated with the entrepreneur "can be found in different lifeworlds, where ... [they are] dominant" (BÜHRMANN, 2006, §4). [2]

Even though the sheer number of publications originating from governmentality studies manifests the fulminant analytical potential of governmentality research,2) I am eager to argue that governmentality research has not yet achieved its full analytical potential and that it suffers from two methodological deficits. Firstly, KELLER (2010) and MARTTILA (2013) have noticed a notorious reluctance of governmentality scholars to elucidate how the epistemic perspective involved in governmentality research actually influences, structures and limits the range of possible and meaningful empirical observations. To put it more precisely: it is not quite clear how the epistemic possibilities of governmentality research, such as its epistemological model of government, ultimately influence the range of possible empirical interpretations. Secondly, it has also remained unclear what analytical status and function the key concepts of governmentality research assume in empirical analysis. Even though the recurrent use of concepts such as "government," "governmentality," "subjectivity," and "technology" is indicative of their function as heuristic analytical devices, their analytical use has remained indeterminate. As the combined result of these two methodological deficits, it is hardly possible to carry out systematic comparative governmentality research and, for example, explicate the respective differences and similarities between various socio-historically particular governmentalizations of the entrepreneur (cf. MARTTILA, 2013, p.25ff.; O'MALLEY, WEIR & SHEARING, 1997, p.501; ROSE, 2000). [3]

This article locates the solution to the above mentioned methodological deficits in the methodological position of reflexive methodology as it has been elaborated in the French epistemological tradition. The principal aim of the article is to interlink reflexive methodology with empirical governmentality research, and it is approached in five steps. The first step elucidates the epistemological foundations of governmentality research (Section 2.1) and the phenomenal structure of government (Section 2.2), presents the key principles of reflexive methodology and discusses their practical consequences in empirical research (Section 2.3). The second step (Section 3) explicates how the methodological premises of an "epistemological break" and the "holistic" use of theory that are characteristics of the reflexive methodological position could be effectuated in empirical analysis. In an attempt to make the otherwise technical jargon productive for empirical research, this part elaborates the research design of a case study on the governmentalization of the entrepreneur in Swedish governmental discourse, whose results are displayed in the third step (Section 4.1-4.3). The fourth step (Section 5) gives an overview of the results achieved by the empirical study, while the concluding fifth step (Section 6) discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the presented methodological position and reflects its possible contribution to governmentality research in general and comparative analysis of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur in particular. [4]

2. Governmentality Studies

2.1 Structuralist epistemology of government

Governmentality research was established in FOUCAULT's public lectures entitled "Security, Territory, Population" (2007 [2004]). The objective of this series of lectures was to elaborate the origins of the "bio-power," which referred to the historical emergence of "the biological features of the human species" as "the object of political strategy" (p.1). However, FOUCAULT also intended to establish a new analytical logic of historical research that differed considerably from his earlier works. FOUCAULT's lectures not only demonstrated the existence of historically different modes of government, but also defined every mode of government as being structured as a configuration of rationalities (i.e. knowledges) of government, governmental technologies and conceptions of the subject (cf. FOUCAULT, 2010 [2004]; LEMKE, 2001; OPITZ, 2007). Even though the four lectures held in February 1978 sketched the outlines of FOUCAULT's future studies of various "arts of government," FOUCAULT defined neither the concept of governmentality nor that of governmentality research clearly. Moreover, FOUCAULT even used the concept of government in the widest sense to refer "to all endeavors to shape, guide, direct the conduct of others, whether these be the crew of the ship, the members of a household, the employees of a boss, the children of a family or the inhabitants of a territory" (ROSE, 1999, p.3). It was initially understood that FOUCAULT's notion of governmentality combined two terms: gouverneur and mentalité. Correspondingly, governmentality analysis would be an empirical inquiry into the historically particular interrelations of techniques (gouverneur) and knowledge, ideas and attitudes (mentalité) involved in government. LEMKE (2007, p.13) observed later that FOUCAULT's research of government was actually derived from the concept of gouvernementel, i.e. "about the government." It referred to an analysis of different historical formations and modes of government, i.e. "governmentalities," that relate to empirically distinguishable configurations of ideas, reflections, notions, theories and practices involved in the government of states, populations, prisons, enterprises, etc. [5]

The question is whether FOUCAULT's move from the analysis of discourse formation to governmentality studies also led to the renouncement of the structuralist epistemology that had characterized his earlier works (e.g. 1970 [1966], 2009 [1969]). There is no doubt that the move from archaeological discourse analysis to an analysis of governmentalities extended FOUCAULT's focus from "discursive" textual structures to include "non-discursive" material, technical and institutional structures and practices (KELLER, 2011a, p.48). FOUCAULT's initial archaeological works were constrained to the analysis of the structural organization of bodies of knowledge called "discourse formations" and their generation and reproduction of "discursive" practices of statement-making (2009 [1969], p.41). In contrast, governmentality research tries to explicate the arts of government that embrace bodies of knowledge generating "discursive" practices as well as a set of "non-discursive" practices of social interventions motivated and rationalized by a body of knowledge (SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009).3) However, considering that social interventions are unthinkable without some knowledge that makes "reality thinkable in such a way that it is amenable to political programming" (ROSE & MILLER, 1992, p.179), the epistemological priority is attributed to the "discursive" dimension of government, which, after all, constitutes the condition of possibility for social interventions (cf. FOUCAULT, 2002a, p.342). Social interventions are possible only within a corresponding "discursive field of representation ..." (KELLER, 2011b, p.141; my translation). SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG (2009, p.332) argues, therefore, that governmentality research analyzes "firstly the body of knowledge that provides the basis for the directed intervention into the world and, secondly, the knowledge about the adequate intervention and its reflection, and thirdly, the reciprocal constitution of both practices" (my translation). [6]

Moreover, I would also like to argue that governmentality research has sustained FOUCAULT's structuralist model of knowledge. Reflecting the structuralist model of language, in which signs are conceived to receive their respective meanings from their locations within local systems of language (cf. DELEUZE, 1992 [1973], p.15), FOUCAULT (2009 [1969], p.41) related discourse to a relatively regular relational configuration of "objects, types of statement, concepts or thematic choice" sustained from one statement to another. Governmentality research has adopted FOUCAULT's structuralist model of knowledge as a locally particular relational system of meaning containing elements (see further in Section 2.2). In line with the structuralist model of knowledge, GORDON (1991, p.3)4) has argued that a body of knowledge constituting governmental rationality consists of a relational configuration of meanings "about the nature of the practice of government (who can govern; what governing is; what or who is governed)." Moreover, it is this system of relations that makes "some form of activity thinkable and practicable both to its practitioners and those upon whom it was practiced" (ibid.). The structuralist model of knowledge does not mean that a body of knowledge consists of inter-relations between various meaning-containing entities. Instead, entities of knowledge receive their respective knowledge contents within a system of inter-relations through their actual relations to other entities (DIAZ-BONE, 2006, §9ff.). This system-inherent contingence of knowledge means, for instance, that the possibility to identify a social group as agent of a social intervention depends on the knowledge about this social group's competence, the presence of social norms and values that underline the necessity of intervention, the nature of the problem to be solved, information about the contextual circumstances of the intervention, etc. A body of knowledge consists of a system of mutually correlated and constitutive entities of meaning in the sense that replacement of one entity by another also changes the meaning-content of other entities. Consider, for example, the case of labor-market policy. Changes to the known characteristics of the object of intervention (e.g. unemployment) implicate that new types of interventions (e.g. activation policies) appear meaningful and, also, that responsibilities to solve the problem of unemployment can be redistributed from one social group (e.g. an employment agency) to another (e.g. the unemployed). [7]

The structuralist model of knowledge has significant epistemological consequences for governmentality research because it implicates that the possibility of a particular type of social intervention is located in the prevailing system of a contextually particular system of inter-relations between elements of knowledge. The model also implicates that governmentality research cannot be content with the nominal description of the "programmatic" level of government that contains publicly accessible programs and agendas (BÜHRMANN, 2006). In contrast, as DIAZ-BONE (2010, pp.189, 420) argues, the analyst has to "deconstruct" the self-evidential character of such official rationalities by manifesting a system of contingent relations constituting a body of knowledge. Against the background of the epistemological model of government as a relatively stable and contextually particular configuration of knowledges of the world and a set of social interventions into the world, the analyst should try to identify constellations of knowledge and social interventions characteristic of a government, its historical origins. FOUCAULT's archaeological analysis of discourse and governmentality research depart from the same praxeological assumption, which is that a social practice, whether it is an act of statement-making or social intervention into the world, must be understood as a social practice independent of any predestined teleological trajectory and conducted "outside of any monotonous finality" (1977, p.140). The general aim of the FOUCAULTian discourse analysis is highlighted by the explication of "the conditions of possibility of statements, the possibilities of their appearance in a certain context of statements and in a [discursive] domain" (DIAZ-BONE, 2010, p.83; my translation). Discursive rules, referring to sedimented socio-cognitive epistemes, are responsible "for the synchronous conformity and diachronic invariability of statements" (MARTTILA, 2010, p.106; cf. DELEUZE, 1999 [1986], pp.39ff.; DIAZ-BONE, 2007, §62, 65). In other words, social practices effectuate prevailing objectivated, or sedimented, structures of power without yet serving the explicit interests of those in power (cf. SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009, p.322). Similar to statements social interventions should also "be analyzed as practices ..." (ROSE, 1996, p.42) in the sense that a social intervention is "a regulated social practice ...," performed under contextually particular discursive conditions of possibility (SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009, p.321; my translation). In other words, the "rules of a discursive 'policing'" are not only imposed upon bodies of knowledge generating and maintaining statements, but they also pertain to social interventions rationalized by this body of knowledge (FOUCAULT, 1981, p.61; cf. 2009 [1969], p.145). To conclude: the structuralist conception of government in governmentality research continues FOUCAULTian discourse analysis while, at the same time, extending its focus from discursive structures of knowledge to non-discursive social interventions (e.g. SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009). [8]

Against the backdrop of the structuralist epistemology of government, governmentality research can be claimed to consist of two subsequent stages of analysis. Firstly, the analyst aims at manifesting the historically contingent and spatio-temporally distinctive phenomenal structure of government embracing both a body of knowledge and social interventions into the world facilitated by this body of knowledge. The analyst scrutinizes the knowledge responsible for the appearance of the necessity of social intervention and the interventions adapted to act upon the cognized problem in accordance with our knowledge of its nature and characteristics (cf. BRÖCKLING, 2007, p.124). Secondly, however, against the background of the praxeological argument about the discursive regulation of social practices, the analyst moves on to reconstructing the discursive rules responsible for the relative internal coherence and relative spatio-temporal permanence of the observed constellation between knowledge of the world and social interventions into the world (cf. DIAZ-BONE, 2010, pp.420ff.). This structuralist epistemology of government implicates that the following case study on the governmentalization of the entrepreneur should first detect and reconstruct the socio-historically particular bodies of knowledge that make entrepreneurs a meaningful object of social intervention, and thereafter identify the forms of interventions designated in terms of GORDON (1991, p.48) to "conduct the conduct[s]" of entrepreneurs. Against the background of the structuralist model of knowledge, the body of knowledge enabling social interventions must be analyzed by research questions that lend visibility to the relational structure of knowledge. After all, the possibility to make the entrepreneur an object of intervention depends on the combination of different types of knowledge: what an entrepreneur is; how entrepreneurs are related to and integrated into the conduct of political government; how the social roles, utilities and functions associated with entrepreneurs either motivate or impede various types of social interventions; by whom and for what reasons entrepreneurship should be carried out, etc. Governmentality researchers (e.g. DEAN, 1996, 1999; NADESAN, 2008; SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009) have made the first steps towards systematizing the relational analysis of the phenomenal structure of knowledge by denominating general, phenomenal dimensions of government transcending any socio-historical context. [9]

2.2 Phenomenal structure of government

In the recent past, governmentality researchers (e.g. DEAN, 1996, 1999; NADESAN, 2008) have made considerable efforts to identify the contextually invariant phenomenal structure5) of government recurring from one mode of government to another. Being treated as theoretical rather than empirical concepts, notions of "government," "subjectivity" and "technology" as they are proliferating in governmentality research refer to fundamental dimensions of government. Instead of coinciding with the objective "being" of government, these notions refer to phenomenal dimensions, which again define the "beingness" of the world6) available to the governmentality researcher. Similar to middle-range theories phenomenal dimensions also offer "abstract-concrete" heuristic analytical devices that are abstract enough to allow the interpretation of a diverse range of social phenomena (MARTTILA, 2010, p.101; cf. RAPPERT, 2007, p.695). However, these phenomenal dimensions are still specific enough so as to allow for the observation of their correspondence with the empirical features of the studied phenomena. [10]

Following the seminal works of DEAN (1996, p.222, 1999, p.17), the phenomenal structure of government can be understood to consist of four dimensions altogether: ontological, ascetic, deontological and teleological. The ontological dimension embraces the possible cognizable objects of knowledge and their assumed nature of being. Objects of knowledge can be further divided into two sub-categories of objects of observation and episteme. Objects of observation are objects of cognition that are accessible and meaningful at a certain point of time. A neoliberal entrepreneurial government cognizes, for instance, different objects than a government, whose major concerns are social security, social welfare and employment (e.g. ROSE 1999, pp.98ff.). Episteme denotes meta-perspectives on objects' logic of being (cf. FOUCAULT, 1970 [1966], pp.350ff., 2009 [1969], p.211). One contemporary episteme is that of risk, which implicates that social objects, subjects and processes are associated with unknown and uncontrollable properties (EWALD, 1991, p.199). Within the entrepreneurial government, enterprise has attained a similar epistemic status. Enterprise is not restricted to the notion of an organization but instead refers to an "image of a certain mode of activity that could be applied equally to organizations such as hospitals or universities, to individuals within such organizations whether these be managers or workers, and, more generally to persons in their everyday existence" (MILLER & ROSE, 2008, p.195). [11]

The ascetic dimension denotes means, institutions, strategies and rationalizations that capacitate subjects to govern other subjects, processes, populations, etc. Following CRUIKSHANK (1996, p.233), the field of ascetics consists of "a complex and heterogeneous assemblage of technologies." Technologies are intentional means of government, and yet, they are not voluntarily chosen and selected but reflect the historical and contextual embeddedness of governing subjects within their particular epistemological boundaries (cf. BARRY et al., 1996, p.13; BURCHELL, 1993; FOUCAULT, 1998 [1976], p.94; MILLER & ROSE, 1990, p.2). The ascetic dimension also involves the strategic choices of government and different means of rationalization, legitimation and justification of governmental practices. Scientific theories about causal relations between the public sector and the market economy legitimate and rationalize particular governmental operations (e.g. privatization, marketization), whilst inhibiting others (e.g. public sector expansion). Besides means of rationalization, another ascetic dimension embraces means of visibilization that reveal the immanent properties of objects of knowledge. For FOUCAULT (2007 [2004]), statistics played a key role in the discovery of society as an object of knowledge. Statistical data revealed "that the population possesses its own regularities; its death rate; its incidence of disease, its regularities of accidents ..." (p.104). A further ascetic dimension contains different technologies of subjectification: Technologies of the other submit individual subjects "to certain ends of domination" (FOUCAULT, 1988, p.18), while technologies of the self refer to practices that subjects adapt in order

"to effect by their own means or with help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality" (p.11). [12]

The deontic dimension refers to conceptions about "who we are when we are governed" by the other (DEAN, 1999, p.17). Available conceptions of the self capacitate and rationalize particular kinds of governmental practices while, at the same time, they assign individuals certain roles and plights toward social institutions such as schools (e.g. pupils, teachers), national governments (e.g. active citizens), communities (e.g. dutiful members), and employers (e.g. intrapreneur). The relation between institutions and institutional populace is poignantly expressed in the systems theoretical notion that "[e]ach subsystem attributes in a different way to its persons actions, responsibilities, rights and duties, and equips its actors with capital, interests, intentions, goals and preferences" (TEUBNER, 2006, p.519). These conceptions of the self are internalized and incorporated by subjects in their cognitions, knowledges, identifications and everyday practices. The individuals' internalization and incorporation of (at least initially) external conceptions of the self binds them "to a subjection ... because it appears to emanate from our autonomous quest for ourselves, it appears a matter of our freedom" (ROSE, 1990, p.256). When subjects internalize the externally assigned entrepreneurial spirit, they are closely involved in the "politico-ethical objectives of neoliberal government ..." (DU GAY, 1996, p.65) and start to be concerned about the conduct of the self in alignment with the freedom of choice, autonomy of the self and accumulation of human capital. [13]

The teleological dimension embraces the ethical objectives of the government such as "the ideals or principles to which government should be directed — freedom, justice, equality, mutual responsibility, citizenship, common sense, economic efficiency, prosperity, growth, fairness, rationality and the like" (ROSE & MILLER, 1992, p.179). FOUCAULT (1991, p.93) perceived government to be always directed toward a "series of specific finalities." FOUCAULT's genealogical analysis inquired how particular technologies of the other and the self, such as sexual reticence, were attached to and supported by ethical notions of the "good, beautiful and honorable" (2005 [1994], p.883). CRUIKSHANK's (1996) analysis of the self-esteem movement in California is a case in point of the interplay between collective ethics and conduct of the self. Self-esteem is an objective for individual conduct of the self and, at the same time, it also figures as a technology to solve collective problems of crime, poverty and gender inequality. An ethical objective such as self-esteem informs subjects about the values and utilities connected to particular technologies of the other and the self (p.233). [14]

The phenomenal structure of government implicates that governmentality research is relatable to "second-order observation" (cf. FUCHS, 2001, p.24), which observes the social reality in accordance with the possibilities opened up by the a priori established epistemic horizon. The notion of governmentality research as a second-order observation is consistent with FOUCAULT's own methodological position of "interpretative analytics" (cf. DIAZ-BONE, 2005, 2006; DREYFUS & RABINOW, 1983). The methodological position of "interpretative analytics" suggests that the ideas, which governmentality researchers have about the constitution and phenomenal structure of their objects of analysis, reflect the epistemic perspectivism of governmentality research, rather than any objective features of the reality.7) The question that needs to be answered now concerns the function that the a priori knowledge of the phenomenal structure of government should be allowed to have in empirical governmentality research. [15]

2.3 French epistemological tradition and reflexive methodology

The above presented argument about the socio-historically invariant phenomenal structure of government, not even to mention the identification of general methodological rules for its the application in empirical analysis, might not fall on sympathetic ears. OSBORNE (2004, p.35), for instance, argues that "this kind of research should very consciously remain provisional" (my translation). BRÖCKLING et al. (2011, p.6) suggest similarly that governmentality studies should promote "heuristic experimentation instead of neat 'how to manuals'." At first, the argument for heuristic analysis seems convincing. After all, FOUCAULT (2009 [1969], p.29) advocated the hermeneutic method of "pure description." ROSE (1999, p.4) has similarly made the case for descriptive, innovative and experimental governmentality research. Also, LARNER and WALTERS (2004, p.3) have argued that governmentality research is "avowedly empirical in its orientation." However, STÄHELI (2011, p.274) has observed an aggravating contradiction in how governmentality studies "[o]n the one hand aim at radically historicizing the economy, thus pursuing a 'happy positivism'; on the other hand, there are theoretical assumptions being made about governing the self and implicitly about the economy." What STÄHELI implies is that governmentality scholars do not sufficiently explain how they cognize the reality and to what extent empirical observations reflect presupposed invariable properties, relations and structures of reality. Failing reflexivity about the a priori assumed nature and characteristics of government appears problematic in view of the discursive nature of knowledge. FOUCAULT has himself argued that "our reason is [always] the difference of discourses, our history the difference of times, our selves the difference of masks" (2009 [1969], p.147; cf. DREYFUS & RABINOW 1983, pp.106, 124). If "[c]ognition is always a strategic relation in which the subject finds himself," there cannot be any more or less adequate cognitions, only different and equally contestable interpretations (FOUCAULT, 2005 [1994], p.684; my translation). As regards governmentality research, the discursive embeddedness of knowledge means that governmentality scholars locate empirically observed phenomena within the discursive limits of the governmentality perspective without making this discursive bias explicit. [16]

One way of dealing with the inevitable discursive nature of perceptions is to adopt reflexive methodology as it has been initiated by BACHELARD (e.g. 1978 [1938], p.360) and CANGUILHEM (e.g. 1989), adapted later on by FOUCAULT and BOURDIEU (cf. BARRETT, 1991; LECOURT, 1975, p.10), and systematized further in the recent works of DIAZ-BONE (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). Reflexive methodology departs from the "realism of the second position ..." (VANDENBERGHE, 1999, p.38) suggesting that scientific inquiry originates always from more or less conscious and reflected ideas about the constitution of the world and the features of the observed objects. Before studying how "sex is 'put into discourse'" in a particular socio-historical context (FOUCAULT, 1998 [1976], p.11), we already know that "sex" is discursively constructed and how such construction proceeds (cf. MARTTILA, 2010, p.95). Reflexive methodology takes into account the inevitably biased nature of empirical observations and recognizes that "[t]he scientist cannot grasp the being either through experience or rationality," but only as being predetermined by an initial epistemological selectivity (BACHELARD, 1988 [1961], p.22, cf. 1978 [1938], p.55; my translation). What discerns reflexive scientific inquiry from other kinds of cognition is the former's capacity to make sense of its own cognitive faculty. A truly reflexive methodology calls for awareness about "epistemological foundations of science to make these possible to scrutinize" (TILES, 1984, p.35). If our access to the analyzed objects is always mediated by the epistemic horizon that renders visibility to our objects of observation, the attained empirical observations are always contingent to "the preceding conditions of possibility of knowledge" (MARTTILA, 2010, p.99). In the place of an immediate hermeneutic description of phenomena, the analyst is asked to conduct a theoretically founded construction of the studied objects, and, thereafter, to figure out methods, strategies and materials that allow the empirical investigation of the preconceived phenomenal structure of these objects. [17]

Reflexive methodology applies a number of demands to governmentality research. Firstly, analysts should accept that they cannot encounter the objects of analysis in an immediate manner, as for instance the pragmatist and hermeneutic traditions suggest (cf. DIAZ-BONE, 2007; MARTTILA, 2010). According to BOURDIEU and WACQUANT (2006 [1992]), a truly reflexive methodological inquiry begins with an "epistemological break" that allows the analyst to "regress from the world" (p.100; my translation) and expel the spell of uncontrolled interpretations (cf. BACHELARD, 1978 [1938], p.360). Secondly, however, the mere awareness of the theoretical and epistemological foundations of scientific inquiry does not enable truly reflexive knowledge: it must also be possible to cognize how we make use of our epistemological possibilities to supply meaningful interpretations of the reality. Only the awareness of the co-construction of reality avails reflexive "social construction of a social construction" (BOURDIEU, 2008 [2002], p.88). Reflexive methodology regards the "holistic" use of theoretical and epistemological models as indispensable if we are to interlink our faculty of cognition with the actually achieved empirical interpretations. The notion of holistic use of theoretical knowledge departs from the underlying assumption that empirical research is always informed and motivated by antecedent (theoretical) ideas about the being and characteristics of the analyzed empirical phenomena (DIAZ-BONE, 2006, 2007). Holistic use of theoretical knowledge reflects the epistemological ideal of a "theory-driven construction of 'phenomena'" (DIAZ-BONE, 2007, §35; my translation). From the perspective of holistic methodology, theory does not only inform us about the being of the phenomena analyzed, but also instructs us "how this reality manifests itself and how it can be investigated, and how not" (DIAZ-BONE, 2006, §5; my translation). DIAZ-BONE (2007, §39) argues therefore that empirical research cannot but be a practice of "reflexive realization of the theory" (my translation) by means of consciously reflected scientific methods and strategies tailored to the presupposed being of the empirical phenomena. Holistic use of theory implicates that scientific inquiry must locate "its objects as a system of objective relations, for which it necessarily pays the price of having to set the immediate elementary perceptions into square brackets" (BOURDIEU, 1970, p.40; my translation). There are two major reasons why a holistic use of theory should allow for reflexive scientific practice. Firstly, a holistic use of theory enables the "objectivation of the subject of objectivation" (BOURDIEU, 2008 [2002], p.86) because now the analyst becomes capable of resisting unreflected and unconscious power of ideologies, prejudices and social conventions. Secondly, a holistic use of epistemological models makes it possible for the recipients to retrace achieved empirical interpretations to the analyst's a priori epistemological possibilities. [18]

Against the background of the preceding discussion of the contextually invariant phenomenal structure of government (see Sections 2.1 & 2.2), governmentality research is based upon an a priori available epistemological model of government which remains yet unreflected in recent governmentality studies. In accordance with the key principles of reflexive methodology, governmentality researchers encounter the problem as to how the a priori acknowledged structuralist epistemology and the phenomenal structure of government can be translated into a consistent and openly scrutinizable analytical practice. Ideally, as DIAZ-BONE (2006, §6) suggests, "the triad of theory, methodology and methods constitute an aesthetic context, because the forms and principles of the latter replicate the principles of theory" (my translation). How is it possible to effectuate reflexive methodology in governmentality research? In the absence of any earlier examples of methodologizing governmentality research, the ensuing research design for an empirical analysis of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur (see Section 3) and the subsequent empirical case study present only some preliminary suggestions. [19]

3. Research Design

Governmentalization of the entrepreneur is not naturally constrained to any preordained contexts, but takes place in parallel in academia, business consultancy, politics, enterprise, etc. (cf. BRÖCKLING, 2007, pp.46ff.; MARTTILA, 2013, pp.8-29; SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009). The first operational decision is therefore to narrow down the social context of action in which the governmentalization of the entrepreneur is studied. Due to the extensive scope of this article and the limitations set by a journal, the following study has been constrained to the analysis of the phenomenal dimension of government only. This means that the empirical inquiry is aimed at explicating phenomenal structures of different governmentalizations of the entrepreneur by reconstructing their characteristic bodies of knowledge and social interventions motivated by each body of knowledge. It is not intended to analyze the discursive practices of production and reproduction of these governmentalities of the entrepreneur. A full-scale discourse analysis would require the identification of the subject positions that produced acceptable statements about entrepreneurs, their sources of authority and reconstruction of discursive rules narrowing down the sets of legitimate statements and regulating the group of social subjects trusted to possess the capacity and the right to make valid statements about entrepreneurs (cf. BÜHRMANN, 2006, §36f.; SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009, p.322). I believe that the Swedish political context is too heterogeneous and multilayered social arena, and also too criss-crossed by various discourses to allow for a FOUCAULTian discourse analysis (cf. MARTTILA, 2013, p.93). The propagated integration of the discursive dimension of analysis into governmentality research is met only to the extent that the analyzed social context of Swedish governmental discourse is understood to constitute an "institutional space of production of discourse ..." with its characteristic "key players [involved in] discursive contestation ..." (SCHWAB-TRAPP, 2001, p.269; my translation; cf. KELLER, 2011b, pp.228-232). [20]

The initial impetus to the present study was provided by the critique uttered by MARTTILA (2013, pp.25ff.), O'MALLEY et al. (1997, p.501) and ROSE (2000) about the recent rather static and socio-historically insensitive analysis of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur. Instead of repeating the frequently made argument that the entrepreneur has come to serve as a role model of action for an increasing number of social actors, the aim of the present study was instead to detect historical changes leading to "entrepreneurialization of the society" (see Section 1). RECKWITZ's (2006) identification of the continuous hybridization of the neoliberal culture of enterprise, recent emphases of "the context dependent nature of entrepreneurship ..." (HJORTH, CAMPBELL & GARTNER, 2008, p.81), and STEYERT and KATZ's (2004, p.182; cf. BÜHRMANN, 2006, §4) observation that entrepreneurship has nowadays become a "model for introducing innovative thinking ... beyond those of simple commerce and economic drive," are but some statements that accentuate the dynamic, contextually particular and ever-changing values, functions, utilities and roles associated with entrepreneurs. Dissolution of the neoliberal culture of enterprise into multifarious socio-historically particular and mutually distinctive local cultures necessitates empirical research that in a systematic manner compares different types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur and their respective lines of historical development. Swedish governmental discourse is but one possible context in which different types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur can be empirically discovered. However, despite its obvious spatio-temporal limitations, the case study of the Swedish governmental discourse makes it possible to construct different types of "governmentalization of the entrepreneur," in which empirical generalizability can be tested in further socio-historical contexts. [21]

The methodological principle of theory's "holistic" use is met by making the outlined phenomenal structure of government serve as a source of "theoretical sensitivity" that "sensitizes" the researcher about "what is going on with the phenomenon ... [we] are studying" (STRAUSS & CORBIN, 1990, p.42; cf. STRÜBING, 2004, pp.49ff.). As STRAUSS and CORBIN (1990, p.42) suggest, the researcher can make use of relevant social theories to increase his or her "insight, the ability to give meaning to data, the capacity to understand, and capability to separate the pertinent from that which isn't." Following DIAZ-BONE's (2007, §63) suggestion the analytical strategies of grounded theory methodology (GTM) can be intentionally "abused" in that they are used in empirical social science without adapting the entire methodological framework. In accordance with the concept of the "coding paradigm," which STRAUSS and CORBIN (1990, p.99; STRAUSS 1994, pp.63ff.) intended to "enable ... to think systematically about data ...," the researcher does not have to let analytical codes and categories emerge from empirical data only. In the context of governmentality research, theoretical pre-understanding of the phenomenal structure of government can be used to generate codes "which the researcher has at his or her disposal independently of data collection and data analysis" (KELLE, 2005, §49; cf. STRAUSS, 1984, p.3).8) DEAN (1999, p.17) suggested that the ontological, ascetic, deontological and teleological dimensions of government could be translated into corresponding heuristic questions so as to reveal the systemic character of a particular mode of government.9) However, DEAN did not elaborate further how the contextually invariant phenomenal dimensions of government could be operationalized in empirical analysis. The above presented ontological, ascetic, deontological and teleological dimensions of government can be treated as categories of theoretical codes. Each category can be divided into sub-categories. For example, "strategies and means," "scientific rationalization" and "means of visibilization" are sub-categories of the ascetic dimension. The phenomenal structure of government provides the theoretical framework required for an empirical construction of typologies in order to identify dimensions along which various governmentalizations of the entrepreneur differ from each other (e.g. KELLE & KLUGE, 1999; KLUGE, 2000, §5).10) Following KLUGE (2000, §2), every type "can be defined as a combination of its attributes." Observation of empirically manifestable types requires them to be constructed by means of analytical dimensions that manifest their differences and similarities. Ideally, the "elements within a type have to be as similar as possible ... and the differences between the types have to be as strong as possible" (ibid.). [22]

Since the phenomenal structure of government offers only few rather general and abstract theoretical codes, it is meaningful to supplement the theoretical codes with further empirically derived codes to identify and manifest different governmentalizations of the entrepreneur.11) In contrast to substantive codes, which emerge "ad hoc during 'open coding'" (KELLE, 2005, §12), empirical codes applied in the following study were identified as a means of substantiating the four dimensions of the phenomenal structure of government. Empirical codes had the explicit purpose of facilitating the "sub-dimensionalization" of the four phenomenal dimensions of government, which was again considered ineluctable for the identification of different mutually distinctive and internally coherent types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur (cf. STRAUSS, 1984, p.11; KLUGE, 2000, §2).12) Having compiled the text corpus (see below), the empirical material was, in the first round of analysis, interpreted by means of a set of theoretical codes derived from the phenomenal structure of government. Having developed an initial idea of the sub-dimensions along which the governmentalization of entrepreneurs differed over time, the initial four dimensions of analysis were divided into sub-dimensions that could explicate how the ontological, ascetic, deontological and teleological dimensions in the governmentalization of the entrepreneur had changed over time. While the codes belonging to the ascetic and deontological dimensions could be derived from the phenomenal structure of government (see Section 2.2), dimensions of ontology and teleology were subdivided by means of four empirically derived codes (entrepreneur; economy; state; society). Altogether, the applied "coding paradigm"13) contained four categories of theoretical codes and 15 codes.

Code category


Ontology (of)

  • Entrepreneur

  • Economy

  • State

  • Society


  • Strategies and means

  • Scientific rationalization

  • Means of visibilization

  • Technologies of the other

  • Technologies of the self


  • Governing subjects

  • Governed subjects

Teleology (of)

  • Entrepreneur

  • Economy

  • State

  • Society

Table 1: Coding paradigm [23]

The analyzed material covered only official governmental documentations, communications and official expert reports.14) The potential text corpus was further reduced through consultation of research literature that informed about the initial problematization of the lacking enterprising spirit and need of policy measures to mobilize social subjects as entrepreneurs. Initial surveys of research literature identified the problematization of the entrepreneur in the political manifesto of the liberal and conservative parties—"New Beginning for Sweden"—in 1990 (cf. BENNER, 1997, p.165; GARSTEN & JACOBSSON, 2004; MAHIEU, 2006). The analysis set out from this initial problematization of entrepreneurship in official governmental discourse was carried out until 2004, when the last, until today valid type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, could be identified (MARTTILA, 2013, pp.197-201). At this concluding stage the entrepreneur had achieved the standing of a society-wide role model of social agency. [24]

Departing from the previous knowledge about the legitimate participants of Swedish governmental discourse the text corpus was narrowed down to official reports from public agencies, such as NUTEK, the agency for regional and economic growth, Department Reports (abbreviated: DR) expressing the official viewpoints of departments, Government Bills (GB) expressing the official view of the government, Memorandum (M) and Government Communications (GC) informing about the planned measures and policies, as well as documents from the Swedish parliament, such as Answers to Written Questions (AWQ), Parliamentary Minutes (PM), and Motions (MOT), in which the representatives of the government or the governing parties expressed and defended their positions. Lastly, based upon the previous knowledge about the decisive role that officially appointed experts and expert committees play in agenda setting and opinion making amongst the governmental officials, Swedish Government Official Reports (SOU)15) published by officially appointed experts were also included in the text corpus. Governmental texts are not sorted according to calendar year, but to the parliamentary year (e.g. 1998/99) in which they were published. Many of the analyzed documents carry an official register number, which is indicated by the number following the colon (e.g. 1998/99:222). As many of the documents were received from two online archives (see below), in which texts lack pagination, the passage of text referred to was (if possible) indicated by the respective chapter (e.g. 1998/99:222, Ch. 2.1). In case texts had pagination, the text passage in question is indicated by the page number (e.g. 1998/99: 222, p.13). Some of the documents represented supplements to official documents, in which case the official classification of the supplement is quoted (for example 1D14). [25]

The initial text corpus covered the period of time from 1991 to 2004 and embraced several thousands of texts. This raw data was limited further by means of three strategies. Firstly, the search functions available at the two online archives (http://www.riksdagen.se/sv/Dokument-Lagar; http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/108) made it possible to use key concepts so as to ascertain that the text contained sufficient information about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. Texts containing a minimum of three key concepts were selected for further analysis. Secondly, the few hundred texts remaining were narrowed down qualitatively in connection with ÅKERSTRØM ANDERSEN's (2005) concept of "reflexive administrative texts." According to ÅKERSTRØM ANDERSEN (p.146) "reflexive administrative texts" are "policy considerations in which concepts appear in a developed and justified form." A qualitative scanning of governmental texts made it possible to locate around 250 texts that contained particularly explicit standpoints about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and elaborate justifications of these standpoints. Thirdly, the principal unit of analysis was not the entire text document, but "narratives" of the entrepreneur appearing in a document. The act of "narrativization" can be regarded as a discursive practice in "which various interpretation schemes, classifications, and dimensions of the phenomenal structure ... are placed in relation to one another in a specific way ..." (KELLER, 2011c, p.58). As such, acts of narrativization re-actualize and represent phenomenal structure of government valid in a social context and at a given point of time (SOMERS, 1994, p.606; VIEHÖVER, 2001, p.179). Narrative inquiry originates from a hermeneutic tradition that contradicts the assumption of governmentality research as a theoretically informed second-order observation (SOMERS, 1994; VIEHÖVER, 2001). However, narrative inquiry is compatible with governmentality research provided that narrativization is not understood as a voluntary act of processing of meaning but, in praxeological terms, as a discursively regulated social practice. Set into this "holistic" methodological perspective, acts of narrativization open up the possibility to detect distinctive types of bodies of knowledge about the entrepreneurs and interventions into the world facilitated by the respective knowledge. The observed spatio-temporal variations can then be applied to construct distinctive types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur.16) [26]

4. Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in Swedish Governmental Discourse

4.1 Type I: Entrepreneur—the "spearhead" of the economy (1991-1994)

The liberal-conservative government installed in October 1991 postulated that entrepreneurs must be regarded as the economy's "spearheads towards the future" (GB, 1991/92:38, p.41; my translation). The appreciation of entrepreneurs was supported by a neoliberal ontology of the functioning market economy. The ontology of the economy was that of a system oscillating naturally between stages of relative growth and stagnation. Therefore, there could not be any absolute limit for potential growth nor for stagnation: the overall performance of the economy depended on the structural, institutional, judicial and material conditions, under which entrepreneurial subjects made decisions about the most rational and profitable allocation of resources. The ontology of the state as a source of distortion of fragile economic balance implicated that the government had to withdraw from direct intervention into the economic system and determine its overall performance. Society was problematized against the background of the ontological assumption that subjects and social groups held vested interests, which inevitably contradicted and impeded the attainment of the objective collective interest of maximum economic output. To put it simply: the teleology of the society was to withdraw from any attempt to influence the economic policy. For the liberal-conservative government, the economic and employment crisis of the early 1990s indicated that the economic policy of the preceding social-democratic government had acted against the market and distorted natural rational calculations and behaviors of economic agents. Statistical surveys and international comparisons provided a means of visibilization to ascertain the distorted and dysfunctional condition of the economy (cf. MARTTILA, 2013, p.124). Moreover, the observation that the absolute number of entrepreneurs was considerably lower than in other countries provided that a suboptimal level of economic growth was related to the lacking incentives of subjects possessing entrepreneurial talent to start-up new enterprises (cf. DR, 1991). [27]

The general problem of the liberal-conservative government concerned the possibility to replace the observed dysfunctional economy with a functioning one. In order to release the maximum capacity of growth, the government tried to engender a framework labeled positive "climate for enterprises and entrepreneurship" within which especially small and medium-sized enterprises could operate in a manner that vitalized markets and generated new occupations (GB, 1993/94:40; my translation). Against the background of the ontology of the economy and the state, the liberal-conservative government observed three governmental strategies to establish the endeavored positive economic climate: Firstly, in order to minimize the political and administrative distortion of economic exchanges, the liberal-conservative government distinguished between a number of economically beneficial and harmful institutional, infrastructural, financial and legal factors. Very similar to the ordo-liberal economic policy in Germany in the 1950s, which considered competition "an historical objective of governmental art and not a natural given ..." (FOUCAULT, 2010 [2004], p.120), the liberal-conservative government also argued that it was the political government's responsibility to ensure a political, cultural and social context sustaining functioning competition (GB, 1993/94:40). The primary political problem was to identify the constituents of the positive "climate benefiting enterprises, with well-functioning frames and rules for the small and medium-sized enterprises ..." in which "the renewal [may] be attained, new occupations developed and markets vitalized" (GB, 1993/94:40; my translation). However, even though the government could identify the optimum conditions for economic growth, economic chances could only be grasped by the SCHUMPETERian kind of entrepreneur capable of economic activities that generated above average profits.17) The ethical objective of optimally functioning markets could only be attained when it was ensured that individual subjects could conduct themselves in a manner that most benefited the entire society. As GB (1993/94:40) expressed—"It is only the individual entrepreneur and his employees who, through their efforts, may realize a growing Sweden" (my translation). [28]

Secondly, the liberal-conservative government realized that institutional and structural support of economic actors would not suffice to achieve maximum rationality in allocating resources. Free competition appeared as the appropriate strategy to allocate resources to economically most competitive activities. However, free competition was not only a strategy, but also an ethical objective because it motivated and rationalized a number of political reforms to privatize the public sector, to deregulate the economy, and to increase the supply of risk-capital. An obvious problem was the presence of a number of economic actors sustaining the intensity of competition (GB, 1991/92:51). As early as in the 1980s, a number of expert reports ascribed the relative economic stagnation and loss of international competitiveness to the insufficient level of competition. Also, the liberal-conservative government blamed a number of political regulations and the expansive public sector for having restricted the societal scope of the competitive sector. The traditional support of a few economic champions had restricted the smaller enterprises' access to risk capital and, therewith, also hindered the entrance of new enterprises (e.g. GB, 1992/93:56). The new competition law was a technology of the other that allowed for an intensification of the level of competition, which, again, was realized by the corresponding competition-intensifying conduct of the SCHUMPETERian entrepreneurial subject. The most competitive allocation of resources required the government "to avoid any attempt to resuscitate enterprises that do not meet the demands set by the market" (GB, 1991/92:38, p.8; my translation). As SOU (1993:70, p.13) argued—"governmental measures can never replace the competent entrepreneur but only facilitate his activities" (my translation). [29]

Thirdly, the perceived reciprocal relation between the functioning market and the competition-intensifying conduct of the entrepreneurs implicated that the liberal-conservative government had to maximize the allocation of entrepreneurs to the economy. In terms of MURPHY, SHLEIFER and VISHNY (1991, p.507), it became increasingly crucial for "high-ability people to become entrepreneurs and hire low-ability people in their firms." However, the ontology of the entrepreneur as a "natural talent" (cf. Table 2) also hindered many of the later political strategies and technologies of the other (see Sections 4.2 & 4.3). Even though the allocation of entrepreneurial talent to the economic system was issued by the liberal-conservative government, the presence of entrepreneurs was largely taken for granted. The ontology of the entrepreneur as a natural talent and the perceived reciprocal relation between entrepreneurship and overall economic performance were derived from the "scientific rationalization" provided by the neo-institutional economic theory. It was also the neo-institutional economic theory that made it possible to delegitimize political economic intervention into the market as a "distortion" of the "autarkic" economic balance. [30]

During the first type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, the SCHUMPETERian kinds of entrepreneurs were ascribed the function of being the spearhead of the economy with the capacity to translate the overall "reward structure in the economy ..." into competitive economic products (BAUMOL, 1990, p.894). In terms of JESSOP (2002, p.120), entrepreneurs were believed to have the capacity to find out "new ways of doing things to generate above average profits." Privatization and new competition law were, at the same time, governmental strategies motivated by the ethical objective of releasing full economic potential and technologies of the other conceived to capacitate the entrepreneurs to conduct themselves as users of economic chances. The ethical objective of the economy to sustain the maximum economic output was considered possible only insofar as entrepreneurs transferred by the political government provided structural and institutional reward structure into competitive economic activities. [31]

4.2 Type II: Entrepreneur—the active subject of society (1994-1998)

The social-democratic government elected in 1994 criticized the previous misrecognition of women, younger people and immigrants as subjects that could be mobilized to raise the level of welfare and employment. The imperative that more subjects should be active as entrepreneurs was operationalized in the claim that everybody "must live up to their responsibility for development" (DR, 1999:32, p.5; my translation). Similar to the liberal-conservative government, the social democratic government also aspired to attain the ethical objective of full economic potential. Moreover, the social-democratic government also shared the neoliberal ontology of the economic system as an autarkic organism that oscillated naturally between historical stages of relative growth and stagnation. Furthermore, reflecting the conceived autonomic and non-controllable nature of economy and economic growth and the resulting emerging increase in employment remained beyond the grasp of direct political regulation. What gives reason to discern the social mode of government of the social democratic government as a new type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, is the novel configuration of strategies and means believed to secure the ethical objective of optimal economic output (GB, 1994/95:100). [32]

Contrary to the liberal-conservative government's policy, unconstrained competition, economic liberalization, privatization, a stable price level, and objective and transparent legislation were no longer perceived to secure the optimum output of the economic system. The social democratic government suspected the presence of so far unexploited human capital that could "begin to work for the growth of the country" (GB, 1997/98:16, p.46; my translation). The change of scientific rationalization from neo-institutional theory to endogenous growth theory and human capital theory made it possible to observe the economic significance of human capital. If the state was to achieve its ethical objectives of welfare and full employment, it had to figure out strategies to stimulate, mobilize and vitalize the social subjects' utilization of their immanent human capital. The two superordinate technologies of mobilizing human capital were the political policies for "nation at work" and "active social contract." Both technologies attempted to gather the social forces in a manner of making latent human capital accessible for the economic system (e.g. GB, 1995/96:207). "Nation at work" was a social democratic project designed to ensure that social subjects recognized their responsibility to enhance economic growth by increasing their own human capital (e.g. GB, 1994/95:100 and 218). The campaign for "nation at work" functioned as a society-wide technology of the other in the sense that it provided reasons and motivations to mobilize and activate one's latent human capital for the sake of the collective ethical objective of welfare and full employment (PM, 1995/96:74). It was, above all, the reconceptualization of the term economic growth and the conception of the self as the holder of human capital that supported the idea of the entrepreneur as a technology of the self, which subjects must adapt to in order to support the ethical objectives of welfare and full employment. Also, the strategy of "active social contract" aimed at increasing the level of human capital accessible for economic production. Reflecting the realization of the social democratic government that full employment was increasingly difficult to secure by means of political interventions only, "active social contract" was a way of redefining the respective responsibilities of individual subjects and the state and emphasizing the increasing contribution that individual subjects had to make to secure full employment (DR, 1999:32, p.5). [33]

The liberal-conservative government had associated entrepreneurs with the economic elite that made decisive decisions on the allocation of resources for the economic system's performance. Being informed by the endogenous growth theory and the human capital theory, material and institutional conditions such as the supply of risk capital, competition law, taxation, price level and inflation could explain the economic performance to some extent only (e.g. GB, 1994/95:100 & 150, 1995/96:222). The processes of individual learning aggregated to the general level of competence, qualifications and skills became more important (cf. GB, 1995/96:222, 1997:98:62). Against the background of the unprecedented epistemology of economic growth, the government had to be conducted in a manner that encouraged individual subjects to "engage themselves at work and in society; that both employees and individuals invest in education and, through competition on domestic and international markets, create and sustain a pressure for transformation in economy" (GB, 1995/96:25; my translation). The question was how individual subjects would become capable of activating their inherent human capital. [34]

The presupposed reciprocal relation between the activation of human capital and the conduct of oneself as an entrepreneur served as an explicit motivation for a number of new technologies of the other. As GB (2001/02:4, p.160) postulated: "[i]t is one of the core factors of economic growth that more enterprises be started, not just by persons who already regard it as a possibility, but that entrepreneurship also reaches new groups" (my translation). MOT 1996/97:N242 argued in a similar manner that "[c]apacity of innovation in the widest sense is a matter of singular individuals' or groups' ideas, initiative and creativity in all parts of the society" (my translation). The increasing governmental importance of entrepreneurs was manifested in the number of new technologies that facilitated the start-up of new enterprises. The social democratic government increased the funding for the "Enterprise Allowance Scheme"18) substantially, which covered 1.3 billion in 1995/96 as compared to 450 million in 1993/94, the last year of the liberal-conservative government. Moreover, the earlier criterion of entitlement was lowered from a 24-month period of unemployment to six months. This was due to the concern that potential entrepreneurs were excluded from the program. In August 1994, a 50-million "loan scheme" for female entrepreneurs introduced by the liberal-conservative government to counteract the discrimination of female business-starters was expanded by the social democratic government to cover 149 million in 1995/96 (GB, 1994/95:100 & 150). [35]

Besides the increased funding of existing measures to support entrepreneurship, the social democratic government also introduced a number of other instruments to support women's entrepreneurship. Moreover, the existing 23 resource centers for women's entrepreneurship had increased to 120 by 1998 (GB, 1998/99:1 D18). Resource centers were motivated by the conviction that they could release "women's vigor and mobilize women as an economic 'resource for regions'" (GB, 1997/98:1 D19; my translation). Furthermore, in 1992, there were publicly supported consultants for female entrepreneurs in 62 municipalities. The social democratic government raised the number of consultancy offices considerably (SOU, 2001/02:4, p.161). It was against the backdrop of women's entrepreneurship as a national asset of economic competitiveness that the existing business culture was problematized to support male norms that implicated a potential loss of women as entrepreneurs and meant that "a great deal of competence is lost since women and men are not mobilized to their full potential" (SOU, 1998:6, p.3; my translation). The increase of entrepreneurship among the immigrants followed the same logic of activation of human capital (cf. SOU, 1996:55, p.11). It was assumed that unless the immigrants were activated as entrepreneurs their latent human capital "may get lost forever" (p.84; my translation). The slumbering economic potential of cultural minorities was manifested with reference to scientific publications about the immigrant entrepreneurship in the USA and the UK (cf. GB, 1997/98:1 & 46). Admittedly, the suspicion of slumbering entrepreneurial potential among women, immigrants, and even the youth, required means of visibilization that could provide information about the success of the introduced technologies of the other. The social democratic government made use of statistical inquiries to detect a possible deviation between the presumably "normal" extent of entrepreneurship and the actual number of active entrepreneurs (e.g. SOU, 1999:49). [36]

To conclude, the major difference between the first and second type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur concerned the change of the ontology of the entrepreneur from "natural talent" to "social construct." Even the ontology of the state changed: although the economy was still believed to be an autarkic organism, political government was no longer regarded as a source of economic distortion, but the mobilizer and activator of slumbering human capital. The new scientific rationalization provided by the endogenous growth theory supplied a new ontology of the society as a holder of latent human capital and defined a number of previously economically uninteresting cognitive, cultural and attitudinal factors decisive for economic growth and, as such, crucial for the attainment of the ethical objective of full employment. The endogenous theory of growth, ontologies of the society, the subject and the entrepreneur linked to ethical objectives of the state rationalized the mobilization of human capital as the political strategy of utmost importance. Political campaigns of the "nation at work" and the "active social contract" and new institutions to support entrepreneurship amongst women, immigrants and youth, were only some technologies of the other, designed to mobilize the slumbering economic potential of the society. The entrepreneur appeared as the primary technology of the self, which individual subjects should internalize in order to conduct themselves in a manner that enabled the political government to realize the ethical objectives of welfare and full employment. In this second type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, the role of the entrepreneur referred to that of the active subject of society. Even though entrepreneur was still related to an economic agent, who improved the functioning of the economic system, it became also a technology of the other that allowed the government to mobilize so far latent human capital on behalf of the ethical objectives of the state (welfare, full employment) and the economy (maximum economic output). In contrast to the third type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, however, entrepreneurial conduct was still performed within the confines of the economic system and closely related to the start-up of one's own business. [37]

4.3 Type III: Entrepreneur—the creative subject (1997-2004)

Around 1997, a major dislocation appeared in Swedish governmental discourse that also changed the social roles, utilities and values associated with entrepreneurs. Two policy programs—the program for "Development of Small Enterprises, Renewal and Growth" and the national "Knowledge Boost" launched in 1997 to implement the envisioned "educational revolution"—endeavored to adapt the Swedish society to the future Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) (GB 1995/96:207). The expected transition of the production system into an "internationally competitive KBE" (MOT, 2000/01:Ub260; my translation) was understood as a strategy to sustain "welfare" and "full employment"—the principal ethical objectives of the state. Rapid economic transition into a KBE was considered inevitable if Sweden was to achieve full employment, which again was considered the prerequisite of the welfare state (cf. DR, 2004:36; GB, 2003/04:1 D19, p.33). [38]

However, the aspired transition into the KBE meant that welfare and full employment could be sustained only if an increasing number of individuals adapted features and mentalities characteristic of the SCHUMPETERian kind of entrepreneur presented in Section 4.1. The entrepreneur was the primary subject role, which individual subjects should assume in the KBE. In order to support the KBE's economic competitiveness, society has to be inhabited by subjects who not only accumulate their human capital continuously, but who also possess creative and innovative mindsets in general. The scientific rationalization provided by the endogenous growth theory and theories on the prerequisites of growth in the KBE made it possible to understand economic growth as "the result of people's faith in the future, the innovative entrepreneurs in socially coherent contexts, the willingness of the people to work and the aspiration to develop and trespass boundaries" (PM, 2003/04:2; my translation). However, these new theoretical epistemes did not only explicate the relation of interdependence between economic growth, the functioning of the KBE and innovative behavior. Even more importantly, they also led to a full-scale re-conceptualization of the very meaning of the entrepreneur. In terms of PONGRATZ (2008), entrepreneur became a "profane" subject-form. Entrepreneur lost its earlier conceptual distinctiveness and became general and transmittable to all social settings and situations. Entrepreneur became a

"model for introducing innovative thinking, reorganizing the established and crafting the new across a broad range of settings and spaces and for a range of goals such as social change and transformation beyond those of simple commerce and economic drive" (STEYERT & KATZ, 2004, p.182). [39]

Where entrepreneurship had earlier been a matter of maximum utilization of economic chances (see Section 4.1) and investment in one's own stock of human capital (see Section 4.2), it became now equal to the subjective "will and capacity to try something new" (DR, 2004:36, p.13; my translation; cf. GB, 2001/02:4 & 100). As a report from NUTEK (2003a, p.6) explained,

"[e]ntrepreneurs can be found everywhere in society. Dealing with problems actively and finding solutions, turning ideas into actions or being entrepreneurial in general—these are some traits characterizing an entrepreneur. One who just does! This can be at school, on construction sites, in health care, at university or anywhere else. Some start businesses. Others mobilize their entrepreneurial potential at work as employees. Others develop ideas on improvements and innovations. They all contribute to welfare and growth" (my translation). [40]

The novel partnership model introduced in GB 1997/98:62—"Regional Growth for Employment and Welfare"—and DR 1999:32—"Development and Participation"—for the governance of regional economic policies reveals some of the phenomenal changes that resulted in the generalization of the entrepreneur to a universal role model of social agency. In theories related to the KBE, which served as a means of scientific rationalization in Swedish governmental discourse after 1997, the extent of economic growth was understood as a result of the economic agents' "capacities to engage in permanent innovation" (JESSOP, 2002, p.121). However, reflecting the ontology of economy as autarkic organism, economic innovations could be neither controlled nor planned. The occurrence of innovations was conceived to be determined by individual cognitive mindsets and preparedness to think and act in creative and unconventional ways. Against the backdrop of the observed intensification of international economic competition and the expected transition into the KBE,19) however, the government had to identify technologies and means to increase the likelihood of innovative behavior to take place. In other cases, either the level of employment or the salary level would fall below the standards acceptable for a welfare state. Theories of growth in the KBE provided some knowledge on the fact that innovations were likely to occur in chaotic, flexible and network-like environments of interaction in economic systems of production. Drawing on the assumed beneficial relationship between the socio-cultural characteristics of networks and innovative behavior of individual subjects, the government aimed at increasing the extent of economic growth by installing regional networks similar to "creative, dynamic and chaotic environments" that were believed to generate new ideas, creative behavior and economic innovations (GB, 2001/02:4, p.67; my translation; cf. NUTEK, 2002, p.5). Social networks and the unplanned and spontaneous encounters between individual subjects occurring there were believed to "trigger positive attitudes to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurialism and increase the extent of entrepreneurship" (GB, 2001/02:100, p.31; my translation). Regional public-private networks, economic clusters and local networks of innovation appeared as the most rational governmental technologies to manipulate the extent of innovative conducts of the self. [41]

In contrast, the preceding two types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur (see Sections 4.1 & 4.2), in which subjectivation of individuals to entrepreneurs was a technology of the other (i.e. a means) to achieve desired outcomes, entrepreneurship became both a means and an end of entrepreneurial conduct in the third type. To put it more precisely: entrepreneur had two different social functions. In the first regard, entrepreneur referred to the cognitive willingness of subjects to trespass conventions and identify innovative solutions. As DR (1997:78 p.16) explained, entrepreneur refers to "competencies that are required for developing an activity within an enterprise or organization, for example, competence to 'get something done' and to take self initiative to solve problems" (cf. GB, 2004/5:2, Ch.12.3.4; my translation; cf. NUTEK, 2003, p.6). As GB (2001/02:4 p.119) expressed, "all efforts towards development must set out from people's creativity and will to change" and associated this cognitive capacity with the competences characteristic of entrepreneurs (my translation). In the second regard, entrepreneur referred to the more traditional SCHUMPETERian kind of economic agent that either increased the rate of return through its innovative management of enterprises or started new enterprises. Rather paradoxically, the first "cognitive" entrepreneurship became the precondition for the second, more "traditional" type of entrepreneurship. In addition to these two types of entrepreneurs, there appeared even a third type of "social" entrepreneur. Even though economic growth was understood to originate from local initiatives and unplanned interactions inside network-kind systems of cooperation, it was still believed that networks induced economic growth only if there were network entrepreneurs with the capacity to envision common projects and establish consensual views that enabled the participants in networks to "cooperate and act in the same direction" (DR, 2000:7, p.2; my translation). Based on international research reports about the basis for successful economic clusters, network entrepreneurs were regarded crucial sources for ideas and visions "about the cluster" (NUTEK, 2002, p.15; my translation). Moreover, network entrepreneurs could animate and motivate individual subjects to activate their immanent capacity to pursue both "cognitive" and "traditional" entrepreneurship (DR, 2004:36, p.13). [42]

The identification of the economic value of overall cognitive entrepreneurship and the assumption that entrepreneurial potential slumbers in every social subject motivated the introduction of new pedagogic and disciplinary technologies of government. The explicit aim of these new technologies was to increase the extent of cognitive entrepreneurship, which, in turn, was considered the prerequisite for "social" and "traditional" entrepreneurship. Parallel to the expected transition into the KBE, the entire society was desired to develop into a "knowledge society" inhabited by subjects with a "developed spirit of entrepreneurship" (GB, 2001/02:2, Ch. 5; my translation). The awaited transition to the KBE also led to a reconsideration of the way as to how subjects should be active as learning subjects. The cognitive entrepreneurship required by the KBE presupposed that subjects possessed cognitive competences such as the "[c]apacity to problem solution, critical and creative thinking ... the capacity to adjust to new situations and problems, the competence to negotiate, and the competence to team-working ..." (GB, 1995/96:206, Ch.4.2; my translation). However, such cognitive competences were increasingly difficult to transfer from outside and, instead, required subjects to be increasingly active in their own "knowledge creation" (cf. SOU, 2000:19, p.139; SOU, 1999:93, p.100).20) The micro-government of the self was motivated by the assumption that the "knowledge creation" at the level of individuals was decisive for the extent of economic competitiveness in the KBE, and, as a consequence, determined the possibility to sustain the paramount objective of full employment (cf. GC, 2001/02:188, p.5; GB, 2003/4:1; DR, 2002:47, p.49). [43]

The analogy between learning as "knowledge creation" and entrepreneurship was based upon the assumption that "innovative" and "learning" organizations that are characteristic of the KBE demanded personnel capable of both creation and destruction, i.e. abandonment, of already achieved knowledge that had become obsolete (GC, 1996/97:112, p.12). Formal education had to teach pupils adequate methods of how they could pursue their personal life-long learning strategies. The principal means to facilitate life-long learning was to discipline pupils to assume entrepreneur-like cognitive mindsets such as the "thirst for knowledge, creativity and critical thinking" (GB, 2003/04:1, p.33; my translation). The analogy between "learning" and "entrepreneurship" was located in the association between learning and the creative destruction of the personal stock of (human) capital. At the same time as entrepreneurship turned to a general mindset, and dissemination of cognitive entrepreneurship became increasingly decisive for the overall performance of the economic system, the invisibilization of entrepreneurship made it increasingly difficult to measure the extent of entrepreneurship.21) In 2000, the government introduced a new means of visibilization, the "Entrepreneurship Barometer," which beside other similar governmental technologies aimed at surveying the extent to which individual subjects possessed the general preparedness to self-employment, start-up of their own business and generally positive attitudes toward innovativeness and creativity (NUTEK, 2003a; DR, 2004:36, p.40). [44]

The principal distinction between the second and the third type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur can be explained to some extent by the expectation that the increasing dominance of knowledge-intensive production would increase the number of innovation-oriented and learning organizations and implicate "that more people will be active in working life as entrepreneurs" (GC, 1996/97:112, p.70; my translation). In contrast to the two preceding types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur, the very meaning of the entrepreneur changed from manager or starter of a business to that of creatively-minded subject. Moreover, the third type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur was characterized by the dissolution of the entrepreneur into "cognitive," "traditional" and "social" sub-types. [45]

5. Governmentalizations of the Entrepreneur: An Overview

The results of the empirical analysis summarized in Table 2 manifest the phenomenal structure characteristic of each type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur and display their points of difference and continuity. The empirical results give reason to suggest that the mode of governmentalization of the entrepreneur transformed as the result of numerous changes concerning the phenomenal dimensions of government. Rather paradoxically, it was the commitment to the traditional social-democratic ethical objectives of welfare and full employment in the context of the KBE that required creativity and innovativeness to be associated with the entrepreneur and to be disseminated in all social contexts. While it has been the technology of the self to activate and mobilize slumbering human capital in the second type, the entrepreneur became the technology of the self to awaken the spirit of innovativeness and creativity in the concluding third type of governmentalization of the entrepreneur. Even though the observed changes cannot be subsumed to any overall logic or line of development, it is nonetheless obvious that the development of the entrepreneurial conduct to a general, more or less society-wide role model of conduct of the self reflected parallel changes in the sources of scientific rationalization. Replacement of the neo-institutional theory of economic growth with the endogenous theory of growth theory as well as knowledge about the socio-cultural prerequisites of an internationally competitive KBE explain to some extent the dissociation of the entrepreneur from business-starter and its association with the "creative subject." Parallel to the changes to the very notion of entrepreneur and the emergence of "cognitive entrepreneurship" as the basis for creative conduct of the self, new means of visibilization as well as pedagogic methods underlining the logic of learning as "knowledge creation" attained unprecedented relevance as governmental technologies of the other. Pedagogic institutions became increasingly important as technologies of the other that could discipline individual subjects to make entrepreneurship an integral part of their everyday life.


Type I: Spearhead of economy

Type II: Active subject

Type III: Creative subject






Natural talent; SCHUMPETERian economic agent

Social construct; active subject

Social construct; Learning and creative subject


Autarkic organism

Autarkic organism

Autarkic organism


Economical distortion

Adjuvant of economy

Adjuvant of economy


Container of subjective political interests

Container of human capital

Container of creative subjects; knowledge society





Strategies and means

Structural and institutional reforms (privatization, competition law, etc.)

Activation of latent human capital; increase of the number of entrepreneurs

Educational and pedagogic making-up of entrepreneurial individuals

Scientific rationalization

Neo-institutional theory of economy

Endogenous growth theory; human capital theory

Endogenous growth theory; theory of growth in the KBE

Means of visibilization

Statistical inquiries on relative econ. performance

Statistical inquiries on distribution of business start-ups

Surveys on distribution of entrepreneurial values

Technologies of the other

Competition law; institutional reforms; privatization

Nation at work; active social contract; enterprise allowance schemes; loan schemes & resource centers for female entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial education; KOMTEK; regional & local networks; economic clusters

Technologies of the Self

Accept risks & utilize econ. chances

Start-up of enterprise; learning; preparedness to individual development

Acceptance of entrepreneurship as a way of life; knowledge creation; life-long learning





Governing subjects

Liberal-conservative government

Social democratic government

Social democratic government

Governed subjects

Naturally talented entrepreneurs

Women, youth, unemployed, immigrants

Women, youth, unemployed, immigrants, pupils, children






Utilization of the reward structure

Canalization of the intrinsic human capital into economic production

Release of one's immanent potential to creativity and innovativeness


Maximum econ. output

Maximal econ. output & full employment

Maximum econ. output; int. competitive KBE; full employment


Functioning markets

Welfare, full employment

Welfare, full employment, competitive KBE


De-politicization & withdrawal from economic policy- making

Multiplication of the absolute number of entrepreneurs (in the economic system)

Multiplication of the absolute number of entrepreneurs (in the entire society)

Table 2: Types of Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur 1991-2004 [46]

6. Concluding Reflections

The empirical analysis of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur in Swedish governmental discourse from 1991 to 2004 illustrated one possible way to utilize the epistemological model of government in the vest of a holistic, transparent and comprehensible "reflexive realization of the theory" (DIAZ-BONE, 2007, §39; my translation; see also Section 2.3). In order to achieve such consistent coherence between theoretical, methodological, methodic and empirical levels of analysis, the previous study of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur started with the elucidation of the structuralist epistemology of government (Section 2.1) and the phenomenal structure of government (Section 2.2). Drawing on the reflexive methodology and, in particular, its constitutive principles of epistemological break and holistic methodology, Section 2.3 demonstrated how the structuralist epistemological view of government and the phenomenal structure of government covered by governmentality studies should be reflected upon and taken into account in empirical governmentality research. Thereafter, Section 3 described the research design for a case study in which the previously known phenomenal structure of government was operationalized in a holistic manner by translating it into corresponding categories of codes. Theoretically derived codes were considered to facilitate the construction of empirically manifestable types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur. In Section 4, a case study of the governmentalization of the entrepreneur in Swedish governmental discourse showed how these analytical categories derived from the phenomenal structure of government could be used in interpreting empirical material and then be applied in presenting the empirical findings (Section 5). [47]

The methodologization of governmentality studies promoted in this article benefits empirical governmentality research in two different regards. Firstly, methodological clarity increases the retrospective contestability of governmentality research. If all cognitions are made within particular historically contingent epistemological possibilities, as BACHELARD, BOURDIEU, CANGUILHEM, DIAZ-BONE and FOUCAULT argued earlier on (Section 2.3), governmentality research will provide unquestionable, presupposedly objective, self-evident and neutral knowledge as long as it fails to register and explicate its own epistemic perspectivism. Whether they like it or not, governmentality researchers assume the role of scientific police as long as the recipients of governmentality research do not possess the faculty to relate the achieved empirical (second-order) observations to the analyst's epistemological possibilities of observation. Paraphrasing BOURDIEU (2008 [2002]), governmentality research has far more chances of remaining retrospectively contestable the more explicitly the empirical cognitions of governmentality research are related to the cognitive faculties of the governmentality researcher. In general, the key to a truly reflexive research depends on the extent to which scholars "develop a style of research that builds contingency into its very modus operandi, and which is open and attentive to possibilities disclosed by the research itself" (GLYNOS & HOWARTH, 2008, p.15). This, arguably, enhances the critical faculty of readers to scrutinize, question and revise the results of empirical governmentality research and thus enables them to appropriate some of its findings critically without having to risk a blind bargain. An obvious shortcoming of the presented empirical study was its limitation to the phenomenal level of government embracing structures of knowledge and interventions into the world enabled and rationalized by this knowledge. The discursive dimension of government—embracing underlying relations of power and discourse-specific enunciative possibilities—was not explored any further. Another step in the methodologization of governmentality research would be to carry on the works of BÜHRMANN (2006) and SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG (2009, 2012) and define its relation to the FOUCAULTian discourse and dispositif analysis.22) [48]

Secondly, and similar to the presented case study governmentality research could contribute to reconstructing different mutually distinctive socio-historically particular systems of interrelations and interdependences between meanings, utilities and functions associated with entrepreneurs. JONES and SPICER (2009, pp.11f.), among others, have observed a research gap between the functionalist analysis of mechanisms that "produce entrepreneurship" and descriptive accounts as to "how entrepreneurship comes about in day-to-day fashion." The methodological approach and utilization of the phenomenal structure of government in the empirical reconstruction of different "types" of governmentalization of the entrepreneur presented in this article could pave the way for a systematic comparative research on entrepreneurship. The assumed socio-historically invariant phenomenal structure of government allows us to address identical research questions, analyze identical phenomenal dimensions and arrange the analytical interpretations along identical analytical categories from one context to another. Such formalization and methodologization of governmentality research does not necessarily disregard socio-historical varieties. Quite the contrary, ROSE et al. (2006, pp.97f.) have argued that recent governmentality research has led to "a kind of cookie-cutter typification or explanation, a tendency to identify any program with neoliberal elements as essentially neoliberal." The methodologization of governmentality research presented in this article may offer one possible way to systematically distinguish the differences between different types of government, denominate the dimensions of their congruence and distinctiveness, and observe their increasing similarities and dissimilarities. Instead of taking the similarities between socio-historically particular governmentalizations of the entrepreneur in the THATCHERite "culture of enterprise" (e.g. ROSE, 1996), German labor market reforms (e.g. BRÖCKLING, 2007; PÜHL, 2003) and the assessed Swedish governmental discourse at face value, the above presented methodological approach could make a contribution to the inquiry of "the very real conditions under which specific forms of subjectivity historically form or transform" (BÜHRMANN, 2006, §11). Whether the three types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur presented in this study can be conveyed to other socio-historical contexts, remains an empirical question for future comparative governmentality research. The presented methodological approach may facilitate such an undertaking. [49]


I would like to thank Christian BAIER, Vincent GENGNAGEL, Julian HAMANN Christian SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG and the two anonymous peer-reviewers for their critical and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.


1) Following PONGRATZ (2008, p.464), the process of entrepreneurialization leads potentially to a "society of entrepreneurs" [Unternehmergesellschaft], in which every action should be carried out by entrepreneurial subjects. <back>

2) For an overview, see BRÖCKLING, KRASSMAN and LEMKE (2011); DEAN (1999), MILLER and ROSE (2008) and ROSE (1999). <back>

3) In the first volume of "The History of Sexuality" (1998 [1976]) and "Discipline and Punish" (1975), the works preceding the analysis of different "arts of government," FOUCAULT had already started to rivet on infrastructures of power that consisted of complex relations of interdependence between "discursive" bodies of knowledge and "non-discursive" interventions into the world by means of strategies and technologies of power (cf. DREYFUS & RABINOW, 1983, pp.143ff.). In this light, it would be worth discussing further whether FOUCAULT's studies of governmentalities can be considered a distinct FOUCAULTian field of research or, whether the recent efforts to emphasize the distinctiveness of governmentality studies reflect general developments and symbolic struggles in the field of social science. <back>

4) The structuralist view of knowledge as a relational system of signs and symbols is apparent in numerous contributions to governmentality research (e.g. BARRY, OSBORNE & ROSE, 1996, p.2; DEAN, 1999, pp.17, 19; FOUCAULT, 2002a, pp.344f., 2007 [2004], p.89; NADESAN, 2008, p.1; OPITZ, 2007; ROSE, 1996, 2000, pp.322, 325; ROSE, O'MALLEY & VALVERDE, 2006, pp.84f.). <back>

5) Following KELLER (2011c, p.58), the notion of phenomenal structure refers to a system of interrelations and interdependences between different constituent dimensions of knowledge in accordance with the presented structuralist model of knowledge. <back>

6) The distinction between objects' "being" and "beingness" conforms to HEIDEGGER's differentiation between Existenz and Dasein. Beingness refers to any meaningful being of objects (HEIDEGGER, 2008 [1977], pp.37ff.). Similar to HEIDEGGER, FOUCAULT (cf. FOUCAULT in DREYFUS & RABINOW, 1983, p.106; FOUCAULT, 2001 [1994]) also denies the possibility to immediate access to the intrinsic beingness of objects undistorted by prevailing epistemic limits. <back>

7) In a number of methodological texts, FOUCAULT emphasized that his own analysis suffered from the very same lack of objectivity that pertained to any other type of social disclosure of the world. In FOUCAULT's own words, "there is nothing [original] to interpret. There is nothing absolutely primary to interpret because, when all is said and done, underneath it all everything is already interpretation" (FOUCAULT in DREYFUS & RABINOW, 1983, p.106; see also DIAZ-BONE, 2005, 2006; MARTTILA, 2010). <back>

8) In contrast to STRAUSS and CORBIN's (1990) approach to the GTM, the more empiricist version of GTM that is oriented along the works of GLASER (e.g. 1992) understands "theoretical coding" as meaning that "researchers introduce ad hoc theoretical codes and coding families which they find suitable for the data under scrutiny" (KELLE, 2005, §22). However, KELLE (ibid.) notices that, researchers could as well "construct an own coding paradigm rooted in their own theoretical tradition" depending on their theoretical perspective and for the sake of achieving analytical coherence between theoretical framework and analytical interpretation. See THOMAS and JAMES (2006) for criticism of the possibility to generate codes from empirical material without any pre-understanding of the phenomena under scrutiny. <back>

9) In DEAN's (1999, p.17) approach the four phenomenal dimensions of governmentalities are translated into corresponding heuristic questions addressed to the empirical material: "What we seek to act upon …?" (ontological dimension); "How we govern this substance?" (ascetic dimension); "Who we are when we are governed in such a manner ..." (deontological dimension), and "Why we govern or are governed …?" (teleological dimension). <back>

10) Following FLICK (2005, pp.70ff.), theoretical sampling does not only serve the purpose of generating an empirically grounded theory, but also the intention to construct empirically generated "types" and "typologies" (see also SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2009, p.323). <back>

11) Depending on the theoretical point of departure, the system of codes could be expanded by codes received from FOUCAULT's concept of dispositif (e.g. BÜHRMANN, 2006), FOUCAULTian theory of discourse (e.g. DIAZ-BONE, 2010) or even BOURDIEU's theory of social fields (e.g. SCHMIDT-WELLENBURG, 2013). <back>

12) For KLUGE (1999, p.26) empirical construction of types requires maximum "internal homogeneity" of types and "external heterogeneity" between different types. <back>

13) The concept of "coding paradigm" does not embrace only the theoretically derived codes available at the beginning of the empirical analysis, but the entire family of applied codes (KELLE, 2005, §17). <back>

14) The analyzed primary literature embracing around 250 documents can be found in MARTTILA (2013, pp.231ff.). <back>

15) SOU is the official abbreviation of Sveriges Offentliga Utredningar. <back>

16) Results of the case study are presented in Table 2 (Section 5), which also explicates how the discovered three types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur differed along the applied analytical categories. However, the limitations to the extent of this article make it impossible to explicate all empirical findings. Therefore, the analytical narrative of the following three sections (4.1-4.3) will focus mainly on the dimensions that underline the differences between the three types of governmentalization of the entrepreneur. However, for the sake of presenting the complete empirical results, Table 2 will also contain concepts and empirical details that must remain beyond outright explication. <back>

17) The notion of SCHUMEPTERian entrepreneur refers to SCHUMPETER's (1961; see in particular Chapter 2) conception of the entrepreneur as an economic agent, which due to its readiness to take risks and thinks and act in unprecedented ways disrupted economic equilibrium and generated above average profits. <back>

18) Enterprise Allowance Scheme (Swedish: Att starta eget) was initiated in 1984 as a pilot project to facilitate business start-ups among the unemployed (GARSTEN & JACOBSSON, 2004). <back>

19) It was believed that, in 2010, over 50% of the demand for labor force would come from the knowledge-intensive sectors (cf. GB, 1997/98, pp.62, 150; SOU, 1996, p.4). <back>

20) In the 1990s, the notion of learning as intra-subjective work upon one's own capacity to learning and individual generation of knowledge replaced, at least partly, the traditional notion of learning as transmittal of ready-made knowledge contents. <back>

21) Invisibilization of entrepreneurship pertains to "cognitive entrepreneurship" only. There appeared even a new body of consultative literature addressing the question as to how "cognitive" entrepreneurship could be transferred into "traditional" entrepreneurship. <back>

22) A number of forthcoming contributions to the Compendium Methods of Discourse Analysis will elaborate further the relation between governmentality research and discourse analysis. <back>


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Tomas MARTTILA, born 1977, PhD in sociology, Master of Social Science. 1997-2004 study of political science, economic history, history and economics at the University of Lund, Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden) and University College Dublin (Ireland). From 2005 to 2008, fellow of the Graduate School "Markets and Social Systems in Europe" at the University of Bamberg (Germany). PhD completed in November 2010, and PhD thesis published by Routledge (New York) in 2013 ("The Culture of Enterprise in Neoliberalism: The Specters of Entrepreneurship"). Since 2008, research assistant at the Department of Sociology II (Prof. Dr. Richard MÜNCH) at the University of Bamberg. Habilitation project in progress entitled "Political Difference and Social Analysis" dealing with the methodologization of the Laclauan discourse theory. Main research interests include empirical discourse analysis; methods of empirical social research; theories of science; economic sociology; sociology of education.


Dr. Tomas Marttila

Department of Sociology II
University of Bamberg
Feldkirchenstr. 21
960 52 Bamberg, Germany

Phone: + 49 (0)951-863-2621

E-mail: tomas.marttila@uni-bamberg.de
URL: http://www.uni-bamberg.de/soz2/personen/mitarbeiterinnen/dr-tomas-marttila/


Marttila, Tomas (2013). Whither Governmentality Research? A Case Study of the Governmentalization of the Entrepreneur in the French Epistemological Tradition [49 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(3), Art. 10,

Copyright (c) 2013 Tomas Marttila

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