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Title: Alternative horizons of entrepreneurship : Bangladeshi diasporic women trading in east London
Author: Wallace, Barbra
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 778X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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Business creation is a pivotal mechanism for the UK government in addressing social exclusion and urban decay. The Women's Enterprise Strategic Framework is the cornerstone of the government's approach for strengthening women's participation in entrepreneurship, with business support being the mechanism to effect this. This work contributes to the discussion as to why, despite substantial government funding of business support, the numbers of women from deprived areas accessing mainstream provision remains significantly low. The study concerns itself with inequalities surrounding women's entrepreneurship and examines the relevance of mainstream business discourse for Muslim women of Bangladeshi origin trading in the London borough of Tower Hamlets and explores their professional identities using narrative interviewing. The results are presented using a synthesis of discourse analysis and theory construction. The study initially having adopted a critical perspective, then creates a novel `both / and' methodology -a feminist-coherentist framework synthesising `either / or' dichotomies, accommodating commonality and difference, and facilitating development of a notion of Islamic selthood found to be essential to the women's professional identities. This framework is used to facilitate empirical differentiation between notions of `being an entrepreneur, `doing entrepreneurship' and `becoming' women in business. It is argued that the Strategic Framework, established to tackle gender inequalities has failed the women in the study, and that part of the reason is the domination of `Rational Economic Man' (REM) discourse in policy and mainstream business advice. This work shows that the women favoured a positively-gendered, holistic approach, whereby being an `entrepreneur' was deeply embedded within everyday life, and included being a follower of Islam. It is argued that the inherent privileging of REM discourse can be a barrier to the success of enterprise facilitation and business support programmes and that if mainstream support is to be effective for the women in this study, it must change and legitimise the concept of everyday entrepreneurship. In contrast the study shows that community-based advisors did embrace this concept, showing the way for future advice to be delivered to support the women in the study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available