Sociomateriality and Affect in Institutional Work: Constructing the Identity of Start-Up Entrepreneurs

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Identity construction as a form of institutional work has mainly been studied from discursive perspectives. We examine how the identity of start-up entrepreneurs is constructed within the sociomaterial setting of a major start-up and technology conference, to enhance institutionalization of start-up entrepreneurship. We draw from the theories of performative identity construction, sociomateriality, and affect. Our study contributes to research on institutional work by highlighting the sociomaterial and affective nature of identity construction as a form of institutional work. We demonstrate how the identity of start-up entrepreneurs is constructed as rock star, vital entrepreneur, and buddy in a start-up ecosystem. Furthermore, we present characteristics of sociomaterial agency that strengthen identification with the institution of start-up entrepreneurship: multisensority, temporal multidimensionality, and the dynamics of equality and exceptionality building. Our study also critically demonstrates how constructed identities tend to reinforce the link between entrepreneurship and masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2017
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed