‘To be one’s own boss’: Exceptional entrepreneurs and products that sell themselves in urban Poland

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Abstract

This article discusses the aspirations of young people in the Polish city of Kraków who wish to ‘be their own bosses’ – to become entrepreneurs. The article makes a rejoinder to portrayals of ‘the fine salesperson’ as a man or woman who ‘can sell anything’. The forms of personhood and aesthetics favoured in Krakówian renderings of selling instead place emphasis on a good entrepreneur not as one who persuades, but as one who provides. Comprehension of these areas explains why the salient ‘moment of sale’ is when an aspirant businessperson comes up with their ‘good idea’ for a product. Drawing from the observation that the indiscriminate flogging of goods is widely disdained in Kraków, I argue that the topic of selling opens up discussions about the local constitution of difference and the ways in which successful entrepreneurs are able to match products to demographics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-457
JournalEthnos
Volume84
Issue number3
Early online date17 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Poland
  • selling
  • business
  • entrepreneurs
  • postsocialism

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