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The construction of entrepreneurial agency on farms

UHEL Autumn 2010

Kari Mikko Vesala

Academy researchfellow


The construction of entrepreneurial agency on farms

  • The course meets on Mondays from 10 a.m. untill 2 p.m. from November 1st until November 29th, 2010, at Main building, hall 21.

  • ECTS credits: 5

  • Study units sp 19, sp 54e,sp 55b or sp 61 or REMS courses.

  • Active participation (20 h), regular readings (several articles), and an essay (based on the lecturs and readings). The introductory articles (Shaver: The social psychology of entrepreneurial behaviour, 2003; Vesala: The social embeddedness of personal control. A social psychological perspective to rural entrepreneurship, 2004) should be read for the first lecture. The articles are available for copying in the course folder to be found at Unioninkatu 37, second floor, shelf opposite room 2041. Absence policy: Extra work will be required in case of absence from more than one lecture.

Contents & Timetable

  • 1. Introduction to the course (1.11.2010)

  • 2. Social psychology of entrepreneurship 1.11.2010)

  • 3. Entrepreneurship in context I: Discourses of entrepreneurship (8.11.2010)

  • 4. Revisiting social psychology of entrepreneurship: on the construction of agency(15.11.2010)

  • 5. Entrepreneursp in context II: Entrepreneurship and farms (22.11.2010 & 29.11.2010;visitinglecturersinvolved)

Aims of the course

  • The course examines the cultural process of constructing agents in modern society by considering entrepreneurship discourses as evolving, but controversial, frames for experience, action and policy in working life.

  • Social psychology of entrepreneurship and a relational conception of agency are introduced as analytical perspectives.

  • Special attention will be paid to the ongoing change in the farm context, where the traditional model of state protected production on family farms has been seriously challenged by the trend towards more market regulated and competitive business, promoted particularly by neo-liberal politics.

  • The course will introduce recent research on the changing patterns of farm business practices and the issues of self-identity, values and skills of farmers, and provide insights on how these issues can be related to the construction of entrepreneurial agency. 

Regular readings

  • Shaver (2003) The social psychology of entrepreneurial behaviour

  • Vesala (2004) The social embeddedness of personal control. A social psychological perspective to rural entrepreneurship.

  • Radu, Miruna and Redien-Collot, Renaud (2008) The Social Representation of Entrepreneurs in the French Press: Desirable and Feasible Models?International Small Business Journal 26 (3); 259-298

  • Perren, L., & Jennings, P. L. (2005). Govermentdiscourses on entrepreneurship: Issues of legitimization, subjugation, and power.EntrepreneurshipTheory and Practice, 29(2), 173-184.

  • Dudley, A. (2003): The Entrepreneurial self. Identity and morality in a Midwestern Farming community. In J. Adams (ed.) Fighting for the Farm. Rural America Transformed. Philadelphia:University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Vesala H.T. & Vesala, K.M. Entrepreneurs and producers: Identities of Finnish farmers in 2001 and 2006. Journal of Rural Studies 26, 21-30.

Instructions for the essay

Return to, Deadline ?

7-10 pages, line spacing 1.5

Cover page: title of the essay, subtitle: an essay for the CEAF-course/UHEL Spring 2010; name of the author + student number

Include list of references; see below; reference to the lectures: (lecturer)/CEAF/(date)

Instructions for the essay

Define the topic and content according to your own interests, but try to cover (at least some of) the essential topics and points of the course.

Utilize both the lectures and the regular readings

In addition to summarizings lectures and readings, your own analytical comments and discussions are welcome

Try to include how you understand:

*Agency/self/identity/control beliefs/values

*Entrepreneurship discourses/farm context

Essay titles?

Personal control as an aspect of the ideal representation of entrepreneurial agency and as a description of farmers´ cognitions and situation

Self-presentation concept and the constructionist approach to entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship and political discourses

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