Revista de Sociologia e Política
Print version ISSN 0104-4478
LEITE, Elaine da Silveira and MELO, Natália Maximo e. A new notion of the businessman: naturalizing the entrepreneur. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2008, vol.16, n.31, pp. 35-47. ISSN 0104-4478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-44782008000200005.
We can currently perceive a veritable explosion of books, magazines and television programs geared toward topics such as career, business and entrepreneurship. While on the one hand there is a wide range of academic literature that studies entrepreneurial activity as a type of economic action and the entrepreneur as a social actor characterized by a type of practice linked to leadership and innovation, on the other hand there is another non-academic type of literature to be found which turns entrepreneurial activity into a set of ideal principals on good behavior and uses this as an opportunity to establish normative prescriptions for those who wish to become entrepreneurs. In light of this phenomenon, the present article discusses the construction of an ideology that sees entrepreneurialism as a form of social action imbued with ethical connotation. Businessmen's success stories thus emerge as rich empirical material for understanding the building and dissemination of an ideology within which the notion of the businessman is re-signified. Standing center stage are the "gurus" of business administration whom, through their editorial success - via Internet and large-scale media - spread practical advice and assume a role as moral facilitators of entrepreneurialism. We conclude that through this advice and the dissemination of exemplary cases of success (following the example of Protestantism in the early days of capitalism), subjects who are willing to act economically and in ways recognized as good and just are shaped. Thus from this point of view entrepreneurialism may be seen as the ideology of contemporary capitalism, emerging as a means to guarantee adherence to and the legitimacy of activities that in other periods were not held in high esteem.
Keywords : Economic Sociology; capitalism; businessmen; entrepreneurialism; self-help market.