Theorising illegal rural enterprise: is everyone at it?

Gerard McElwee, Robert Smith, Peter Somerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illegal entrepreneurship in the rural is under researched and scrutinised, yet it occupies a distinctive space in entrepreneurship practice in terms of how it is construed and how it is enacted. This is a theoretical paper which provides a conceptual framework for defining ‘ideal types’ of illegal rural enterprise activity in order to better frame the phenomenon. Four types of enterprise activity are provided which suggest how the activities of illegal entrepreneurship in the rural can be categorised. This article is valuable to researchers and policy makers in that the framework suggests diversity in illegal rural enterprises which can manifest differing motives and modes of operation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-62
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Rural Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Illegal Rural Entrepreneurs
  • Opportunity Entrepreneurs
  • Rural Economy
  • Value Adding/Value Extracting Entrepreneurship


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