Department of Management

Tensions between rhetoric and practice in entrepreneneurship education: An ethnography from Danish higher education

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Promoting entrepreneurialism, enterprise and entrepreneurial behaviour is a goal shared by many governments. European policy rhetoric strongly supports the promotion of entrepreneurial, creative and innovation skills in all disciplines and the cultivation of entrepreneurial mindsets. The transformation of society from an industrial society into a knowledge economy has made the production of knowledge an important factor. In Denmark, the government has mandated the teaching of entrepreneurship at higher education institutions. In this paper, we examine how particular constructions of entrepreneurialism, enterprise and entrepreneurship conflict with at least some practices of entrepreneurship education. We focus the ethnographic lens on a group of entrepreneurial academics whose task it is to educate students in entrepreneurship. We argue that these academics use a particular vision of the entrepreneurial university coupled with the practice of entrepreneurship education as an opportunity to introduce radically new modes of knowing and learning that connotes to classical ideas of critique, self-organization, activism and emancipation. This discussion has relevance for what we as educators do and how we set our students up – as passive receivers of ‘knowledge’ on the one hand, or as active participants capable of shaping their own learning, on the other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Pages (from-to)80-93
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • entrepreneurship, education, rhetoric, practices, teaching

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