The onto-politics of entrepreneurial experimentation: re-reading Hans-Jörg Rheinberger's understanding of 'experimental systems'

Item Type Journal paper

In this article, we argue that there is a need to theorize the relationship between entrepreneurship and the political beyond the currently dominant neo-liberal and emancipatory narrative by turning to an onto-political conception of entrepreneurship based on the processes of entrepreneurial experimentation. In entrepreneurship studies, the relevance and the potential of experimentation for shaping new organizational realities has only been explored marginally. Through re-reading the thinking on ‘experimental systems’ by the science historian Hans-Jörg Rheinberger and connecting it to Annemarie Mol’s notion of ‘ontological politics’, we develop a conceptual framework for entrepreneurial experimentation which we document with the illustration of an art enterprise. The framework that we propose focuses on the interwoven embodied, material and processual dynamics of entrepreneurial experimentation and reframes entrepreneurial world-making as a speculative process driven by material reconfigurations and bodily connections. As a consequence, we argue that this model is able to emphasize the intricate political dimension inscribed in processes of entrepreneurial experimentation through their onto-political force of reconfiguring systems of ‘self-others-things’. Furthermore, the model highlights that this capacity of ‘world-making’ cannot be realized without articulating the tensions and resistances that entrepreneurial endeavours often need to navigate and negotiate while reconfiguring and challenging dominant socio-material orders.

Authors Lüthy, Christina & Steyaert, Chris
Journal or Publication Title Entrepreneurship & Regional Development
Language English
Keywords Onto-politics, experimentation, world-making, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, socio-materiality, embodiment, processuality, the zero star hotel
Subjects cultural studies
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Refereed Yes
Date 8 April 2019
Publisher Routledge
Volume 31
Number 7-8
Page Range 652-668
Number of Pages 17
ISSN 0898-5626
ISSN-Digital 1464-5114
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Christina Ihasz
Date Deposited 08 Apr 2019 09:56
Last Modified 29 Aug 2019 13:34


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Lüthy, Christina & Steyaert, Chris (2019) The onto-politics of entrepreneurial experimentation: re-reading Hans-Jörg Rheinberger's understanding of 'experimental systems'. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31 (7-8). 652-668. ISSN 0898-5626

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