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Publication - Dr Mary Phillips

    Performance and performativity: Undoing fictions of women business owners


    Phillips, M & Knowles, D, 2012, ‘Performance and performativity: Undoing fictions of women business owners’. Gender, Work and Organisation, vol 19., pp. 416-437


    This article explores the representation of women small business owners in three contemporary novels; Chocolat, The Shipping News and Back When We Were Grownups. The primary contribution is to demonstrate how fiction can both challenge and collude in dominant constructions of entrepreneurship, which is more generally gendered as male and masculine. Judith Butler's thinking on performativity with regard to gender and sexual desire is applied to women's identities and extended to include their behaviour as entrepreneurs. The article demonstrates that these novels both ‘do’ and ‘undo’ gender and business ownership. They portray women who are successful in business while displaying culturally accepted norms of femininity but who are set apart from other female characters. However, their partial and conflictual identification with norms of gender and entrepreneurship could lead a reader to question those norms and through the undoing of the protagonists, the novels offer alternative performances and performativities of doing gender and of doing business.

    Full details in the University publications repository