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What is so "cultural" about cultural entrepreneurship?

Journal article
Authors Staffan Albinsson
Published in Essays in Economic and Business History
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 365-390
ISSN 0896-226X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Pages 365-390
Language en
Keywords cultural entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, cultural economics, arts management
Subject categories Economic History


The term “cultural entrepreneurship” has been increasingly used during the new millennium, mirroring the rapidly growing importance of the “quaternary sector of the economy,” i.e. knowledge-based industries, including culture. Exploration of the literature in which the term “cultural entrepreneurship” is used does not bring a solid, clear-cut, and unambiguous understanding of its definition or meaning. The aim of this paper is to present various uses of the concept and to bring about some clarity in how the concept can be understood. Two overarching uses of the cultural entrepreneurship concept have been found: 1. the anthropologist’s and institutional economist’s use, which indicates the dynamic development of intangible cultural features such as symbols, myths, languages, beliefs, values, norms, rituals, and attitudes in and between societies, and 2. the arts development use, which indicates the dynamic development of cultural services, tangible goods, and individual or collective career promotion. Most authors use a cultural entrepreneurship concept without defining it. Authors could apply more precise definitions by using a triple bottom-line framework to position themselves in the nexus of financial, social, and artistic/cultural matters.

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