Bourdieu, culture and the economic geography of practice: Mentorship in Ottawa and Waterloo, Canada

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Economic geographers have struggled over how to address the role of culture in economic processes without resorting to either structural determinism or agent-centric rationality. While culture is commonly seen as an institution affecting economic processes, there has been little consideration regarding the mechanisms connecting cultural outlooks within individual practices and actions. This paper links the sociological work of Pierre Bourdieu with relational economic geography and practice perspectives to examine how cultural outlooks influence the practices of entrepreneurial actors. Through a qualitative analysis of 73 interviews, this framework is used to examine the patterns of entrepreneurial mentorship in Waterloo and Ottawa, Canada. The paper finds that the significant differences in both the rates and dynamics of mentorship between the two cities are the result of different cultural outlooks towards mentorship that have developed within each region, which in turn have fostered distinct beliefs about the value of mentoring and entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-310
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • entrepreneurship
  • culture
  • Bourdieu
  • practice
  • relational economic geography

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