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Biography & Abstract
Maud van Merriënboer

Maud is a PhD candidate at the department of Management and Organisation of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the experiences of diverse founders in the Dutch tech start-up ecosystem.

A social positionality perspective on the entrepreneurial experiences of Nandini: an Indian woman migrant in the Netherlands

Entrepreneurial identity work is commonly described as an agentic/instrumental set of practices that allows entrepreneurs from marginalised groups to manage and overcome their stigmatized identities. Examples are studies on women entrepreneurs exhibiting masculine behaviours, and migrant entrepreneurs balancing ties with host and home countries. This perspective on entrepreneurial identities echoes a broader historical perception of entrepreneurship as agential and meritocratic whilst largely overlooking structural aspects that shape entrepreneurial opportunities and advantages. We employ a social positionality perspective on longitudinal single-case study of Nandini (pseudonym), an Indian woman migrant in the Netherlands. Social positionality argues that identities are contingent upon external context and specific local social hierarchies. As such, this approach allows us to see Nandini’s identity work in a broader context of (gendered) transnationalism and cultural and familial influences. We believe a nuanced reading of Nandini’s life story signifies that the current agential, meritocratic conceptualisation of entrepreneurial identity falls short. We propose social positionality as an alternative perspective on minority entrepreneurs’ identity work to better account for structural limitations.

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