Bourdieu's non-material forms of capital: Implications for start-up policy

Robert Lee, Eleanor Shaw

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The role of Bourdieu’s non-material forms of capital (cultural, social and symbolic) in the entrepreneurial process has received little dedicated research attention. Similarly, the link between occupationally distinct entrepreneurship and accumulation of non-material capitals is understudied. Addressing this, we examine the non-material capitals of different nascent entrepreneurs by occupational classification who participated on two enterprise-training programmes funded by the 1997–2010 Labour Government; each with considerably different foci. Findings demonstrate that professional and higher technician entrepreneurs possess valuable non-material capitals, in contrast to non-professional entrepreneurs. Against the backdrop of recent business enterprise policy, findings suggest that policy-makers should prioritise focused support that nurtures the valuable, productive non-material capitals of professional and higher technician entrepreneurs. Furthermore, initiatives should be tailored to improve the less distinguished non-material capitals of non-professional entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1734-1758
Number of pages25
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number8
Early online date27 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

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