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Young entrepreneurs and non-teleological temporality in Portugal and the UK

Holdsworth, Clare



The promotion of young enterprise is central to European Union youth policy, particularly since the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Expectations that young people need to be enterprising and eschew dependency on formal structures of salaried employment are a key narrative in European and national youth policies. These policy initiatives correspond with recent theoretical development of the entrepreneurial self as a managerial version of the governable individual. Endorsements of entrepreneurship implicitly promote a normative expectation that young people’s future orientations need to be innovative, flexible and creative. There is, therefore, an implicit temporality to youth entrepreneurship. This paper’s contribution to scholarship on how young lives are promoted and produced as entrepreneurial selves is to document how young people’s engagement with entrepreneurship fosters orientations to present and future. Conventionally entrepreneurs are assumed to be goal-orientated. In our qualitative study of young entrepreneurs in two European countries (n?=?28), we find that this assumption of goal-orientation needs qualification. Young entrepreneurs in our study engage with the idea that being an entrepreneur is about being creative rather than seeking to maximise financial profit. Their focus on creativity, innovation and problem-solving is realised through a non-teleological commitment to what they are doing in the here and now, rather than calibrating their activities in relation to predetermined goals and worrying about the possibility of future failure.


Holdsworth, C., & Mendonça, M. (2019). Young entrepreneurs and non-teleological temporality in Portugal and the UK. Time and Society, 29(1), 0961463X1987378 - 0961463X1987378.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 12, 2019
Publication Date Sep 12, 2019
Journal Time & Society
Print ISSN 0961-463X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Pages 0961463X1987378 - 0961463X1987378
Keywords young people, entrepreneurship, present, future, non-teleology
Publisher URL