Managing Multiplicitous Identities: A Study of Rhetoric, Affect, Autonomy, and Entrepreneurship

Victoria Eugeñia Ruiz, Purdue University


Entrepreneurialism has gradually evolved expanding in scope, complication, and consideration from the 1930s to the present. Inquiry and analysis of entrepreneurial identity, automatically necessitates a re-thinking of autonomy as an embodied trajectory. Building on the work of Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores, and Hubert Dreyfus’ Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity, this thesis presents and analyzes three contemporary forms of entrepreneurship. Micro-entrepreneurship as an identity that embodies the smallest, most narrow scope, focuses on individual person-to-person interactions through felicitous identifications. Correspondingly, micro-entrepreneurial autonomous action presents itself in the independent choice to execute specific speech acts that build a collective network of identification. Utopian-entrepreneurship widens the scope of analysis moving beyond a singular focus on person-to-person interactions. In this cultural domain, the work of virtuous citizens draws attention to the institutional/organizational power hierarchies that dominate identity creation, expression, and performance; consideration of this nature is not intuitive as it is not given in advance. Therefore, utopian-entrepreneurial autonomy is portrayed through an attunement with such social disharmonies. The most inclusive entrepreneurial identity is embodied by cultural figures in global social movements. Intersectional-entrepreneurs embrace the many facets of identity colliding among individuals in (non)connections, which compose communities as a greater whole. The affective social labor of intersectional-entrepreneurs is thusly coded as an achieved form of autonomy. In recognition of the continuous evolution that language and identity face, the chronological time-lapse of the three case studies presented demonstrates that specific moments in time might be analyzed as a way of understanding the intermediary steps that bring the unfolding of identity and the trajectory of autonomy to fruition. Management of multiplicitous identities thusly provides nuanced understandings towards rhetoric, affect, autonomy, and entrepreneurship – maximizing the potential for profit(s), however they may be defined.




Rickert, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Business administration|Entrepreneurship|Rhetoric

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