The importance of being privileged: Digital entrepreneurship as a class project

Grant Murray*, Chris Carter, Crawford Spence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Established professional occupations can become the preserve of elites when fitting in is driven by class-based criteria. In contrast, digital entrepreneurship has been proposed as a means by which people may emancipate themselves from societal constraints. We interrogate digital entrepreneurship’s meritocratic foundations by way of a 36-month ethnography of a start-up incubator. Attending to the dispositions of digital entrepreneurs, we reveal they use cultural tastes and manners to create the incubator as a place where members of the privileged class can reinvent themselves at their leisure, all the while adopting the meritocratic mythologies of digital entrepreneurship to disavow their own privilege. This opens up a two-fold contribution to the study of professions and occupations. Firstly, we demonstrate how professional and occupational roles are epiphenomenal to class positioning. Secondly, the parallels between the legitimating discourses of entrepreneurs and more established professional jurisdictions attest to a community that is in the process of professionalization.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjoae001
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Issue number1
Early online date2 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • entrepreneurship
  • digital entrepreneurship
  • social class
  • class
  • dispositions
  • ethnography


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