A Typology of Narratives of Social Inclusion and Exclusion: The Case of Bankrupt Entrepreneurs


  • Ann-Mari Sellerberg Lund University
  • Vesa Leppänen Lund University




bankruptcy, small businesses, narratives, qualitative methods, typology, marginalization, inclusion


On the macro level, bankruptcies are an intrinsic part of market economies and result in restructurings of companies and markets. On the micro level, bankrupt entrepreneurs are temporarily excluded from the market and forced to reorganize their understanding of the market. While some seek their way back to entrepreneurship, others decide to find other means of living which may result in drainage of knowledge and experience from markets. This article aims at describing and analyzing narratives of entrepreneurs with small businesses that have been made bankrupt. It describes how they relate discursively to other actors in the markets in which they used to operate. Empirical data consists of qualitative interviews with 22 bankrupt entrepreneurs with small businesses in Sweden. The analysis presents a typology of how the bankrupt entrepreneurs position themselves in relation to the market. Some describe themselves as participants in the market, either as equal participants ("the undeterred") or as unequal participants ("the withdrawn"). Others describe themselves as marginalized, either as marginalized but nevertheless standing on an equal footing ("the analytical") or as marginalized and unequal to others in the market ("the rejected"). The discussion focuses on possible causes of taking these positions and social consequences they may have both on the micro and macro level.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1201260


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Author Biographies

Ann-Mari Sellerberg, Lund University

Ann-Mari SELLERBERG became Professor Emerita in 2011, and is still active at the Department of Sociology at Lund University, Sweden. Among her many works, she has published on women in the labor market; medical sociology; family and food; consumer behavior; economic sociology with a special focus on entrepreneurship and bankruptcy; and the German sociologist Georg SIMMEL. She is currently working on a project on women in the service sector, with a particular focus on food retailing.

Vesa Leppänen, Lund University

Vesa LEPPÄNEN is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at Lund University, Sweden. His main research interest is work organization and social interaction between front line workers and clients. In studies of district nurses, telephone advice nurses, municipal elder carers, supermarket clerks, and entrepreneurs he has used various qualitative methods, including audio recording, filming and qualitative interviewing.




How to Cite

Sellerberg, A.-M., & Leppänen, V. (2012). A Typology of Narratives of Social Inclusion and Exclusion: The Case of Bankrupt Entrepreneurs. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.1.1453