Redefining entrepreneurialism in the maker movement: A critical youth approach

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edna Tan, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Background: This paper explores traditional iterations of, and new challenges to, the tightly linked discourses of entrepreneurship and innovation within the maker movement. Methods: In a yearlong critical ethnographic study with 12 youth makers, we investigated how youth engaged with and redefined entrepreneurialism through their identity work as justice-oriented, community makers. Findings: Examining youth experiences of entering their making designs into a regional youth Entrepreneurial Faire, we found that the dominant cultures of making and entrepreneurialism at the Faire presented limited opportunities for equitable participation in either. However, youth makers’ community justice-oriented efforts disrupted relationships of power among youth, adults, STEM-rich making, and society. Their critical youth approach argued for a new vision for entrepreneurialism/entrepreneurship. Youth reconfigured a critical maker-entrepreneurialism through practices multidimensionally grounded in a) re-humanizing making and b) building community. Their public discourses highlighted what this effort could produce for community justice and community well-being. Their critical reconfiguration actions revealed and challenged inequitable values and practices driven by inherent White, male, middle-class bias and neoliberalism. Contribution: Youth efforts call for a re-imagination and new recognition of what counts as participation, expertise, and success in both making and entrepreneurialism. We discuss implications for a more socially just entrepreneurialism.

Additional Information

Journal of the Learning Sciences, 29:4-5, 471-510, DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2020.1749633
Language: English
Date: 2020
ethnographic study, maker-entrepreneurialism, STEM, entrepreneurship, social justice

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