Historical Social Research

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Ann-Mari Sellerberg & Vesa Leppänen: A Typology of Narratives of Social Inclusion and Exclusion: The Case of Bankrupt Entrepreneu[Abstract]

On the macro level, bankruptcies are an intrinsic part of market economies and result in restructurings of companies and markets. On the micro level, bankrupt entrepreneurs are temporarily excluded from the market and forced to reorganize their understanding of the market. While some seek their way back to entrepreneurship, others decide to find other means of living which may result in drainage of knowledge and experience from markets. This article aims at describing and analyzing narratives of entrepreneurs with small businesses that have been made bankrupt. It describes how they relate discursively to other actors in the markets in which they used to operate. Empirical data consists of qualitative interviews with 22 bankrupt entrepreneurs with small businesses in Sweden. The analysis presents a typology of how the bankrupt entrepreneurs position themselves in relation to the market. Some describe themselves as participants in the market, either as equal participants ("the undeterred") or as unequal participants ("the withdrawn"). Others describe themselves as marginalized, either as marginalized but nevertheless standing on an equal footing ("the analytical") or as marginalized and unequal to others in the market ("the rejected"). The discussion focuses on possible causes of taking these positions and social consequences they may have both on the micro and macro level.