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      Doing Business in the Schools of the Welfare State: Competing “Entrepreneurial Selves” and the Roots of Entrepreneurship Education in 1980s Sweden

      Enterprise & Society
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          This article concerns the rise of young entrepreneurship education programs in 1980s Sweden, which entered schools surprisingly early and quickly, backed by organized Swedish business. The increased popularity of entrepreneurship education toward the end of the twentieth century in many European welfare states is usually associated with a shift toward neoliberal, market-oriented, policies. It is argued here that an important reason for young entrepreneurship’s success was its ability to connect with the Swedish tradition of cooperation and democratic decision making, in combination with values such as individualism and competition. A case in point is the surprising compatibility between progressive pedagogical ideas and “neoliberal” entrepreneurialism. The article is based on a study of Ung Företagsamhet (Young Entrepreneurship, henceforth UF), the Swedish version of the American organization Junior Achievement, and the ambition of the consumer cooperative movement’s think tank, Koopi, to offer a different kind of entrepreneurship education. In the analysis, the concept of “the entrepreneurial self” is applied to these two different programs, and the results show how they clashed, but also overlapped, in ways that help explain the success of UF. The article is a contribution to our understanding of how entrepreneurship discourse emerged and manifested itself in everyday environments in the late twentieth century, and as such also contributes to the history of Nordic neoliberalism.

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          Varieties of Capitalism

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            Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution

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              Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Enterprise & Society
                Enterp. Soc.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                1467-2227
                1467-2235
                July 15 2022
                : 1-27
                Article
                10.1017/eso.2022.26
                8714614a-5294-4459-b867-ec68204186f5
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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