No choices, no chances: how contemporary enterprise culture is failing Britain's underclasses

Robert Smith, Carol Air

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite an increasing interest in minority entrepreneurship in recent years, the issue of 'underclass entrepreneurship' and its linkages to 'enterprise culture' remain underresearched. In this article, the authors examine 'chavs' as an indigenous British underclass. Using data gathered from an Internet search and newspaper cuttings, they examine how this silent 'stereotyped' and socially constructed minority is presented as dangerous and unemployable. In the process, they uncover hidden links between the underclass and enterprise culture, and analyse how entrepreneurship can help such minorities to achieve inclusivity via consideration of role theory and the power of narrative in initiating social transformation. This framework helps us to understand how it is possible to direct young, disadvantaged individuals towards an entrepreneurial career path via self-employment. The paper raises intriguing issues relating to youth employment and tells the story of how contemporary enterprise culture is failing one of Britain's silent minorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Minorities
  • Enterprise culture
  • Criminal entrepreneurship
  • Youth entrepreneurship
  • Underclass entrepreneurship


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