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Rural entrepreneurship research: promoting reflexivity or functional stupidity?
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4951-4171
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3117-476X
2013 (English)In: Conference abstracts: 11th Rural Enterprise Conference, University of West Scotland , 2013Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper departs from an ongoing interactive research project on entrepreneurial enclaves in southern Sweden aimed at promoting regional development through interaction between local stakeholders, academic researchers and undergraduate university students in three different municipalities. The logic of the project is that university students and academic researchers launch projects in the three municipalities. The projects are planned and performed with support from the local community. By initiating projects in the three municipalities, the research idea is that processes will start that can lead to new initiatives. Through initiating action and interaction the aim of the project is, in an experimental way, to see how entrepreneurship is mobilized. The question is how activities develop in the municipalities as a result of the research project, and how conflicts and resistance partake in this process.

After having worked with the research project for half a year two issues surprised us; the conformity of the ideas in our three enclaves and the close relatedness, when it comes to practical solutions, between practice and academia. The research project seemed to have resulted in standardized, expected and widespread, common solutions to the kinds of problems and opportunities that are ascribed to the rural areas. As the solutions produced within the project are collaboratively discussed and decided upon by academic staff and local stakeholders, the fault of this lack of imagination seem to be a problem for all of us. Preconceptions about what is important in rural entrepreneurship guide us as researchers when we try to understand the field. Preconceptions were also a point of departure in the enclaves we studied, resulting in a few common solutions for how to cope with downturn and produce regional development. In this paper we are using the concept of functional stupidity (Alvesson & Spicer, 2012) to reflect upon the benefits as well as the drawbacks of the tendency, in the academy as well as in society at large, to produce a stereotypical menu of problems and suggested solutions when it comes to rural development. We also discuss the possibility to break this norm by promoting a kind of reflexivity that has the potential to produce surprising and norm-breaking ideas in the area of rural development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of West Scotland , 2013.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Business administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-29014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-29014DiVA: diva2:651009
Conference
The 11th rural enterprise conference, Dumfries, Scotland, June 20-21, 2013
Available from: 2013-09-24 Created: 2013-09-24 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved

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Johansson, Anders W.Lundberg, HansRosell, Erik

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