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Biography & Abstract
Lauren Eaton

Lauren is a PhD candidate in the Rethinking Entrepreneurship in Society project at CBS. Her dissertation focuses on a deeper understanding of the social discourse surrounding entrepreneurship by investigating the popularization of entrepreneurship concepts from scholarly debates to popular use.

Enter Entrepreneurialism: Tracing the History of “Disruption” in The Wall Street Journal

This paper asks how the use of the word “disruption” in the business press changed over the second half of the twentieth century to examine broader transformations in the social discourse of entrepreneurialism. To gain insight into these changes, the study conducts an in-depth analysis of editorials published in The Wall Street Journal that feature the word “disruption” between 1950 and 2019. Initial findings indicate a change in the conservative Wall Street Journal Editorial Board’s treatment of disruption—from a predominantly negative stance to one that acknowledges its potential benefits—illustrating a broader societal shift. This shift suggests a growing appreciation of disruptive forces as vital contributors to progress within society. Moreover, these early findings open an avenue for exploring the potential influence of academics and scholarly discourse in legitimising disruptive forces, offering an opportunity to deepen our understanding of how dominant understandings become legitimised.

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