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The determinants of social change, including entrepreneurs

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date8/04/2022
Host publicationResearch Handbook on Entrepreneurship as Practice
EditorsNeil A. Thompson, Orla Byrne, Anna Jenkins, Bruce T. Teague
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages14
ISBN (electronic)9781788976831
ISBN (print)9781788976824
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Business and Management Research as Practice
PublisherEdward Elgar


This chapter outlines an account of the ultimate determinants of social change and uses this account to clarify how far and under what conditions entrepreneurs can be responsible for change. The chapter opens with a short discussion of the nature of social change. It then clarifies the contrast between individualist and nonindividualist approaches to change before developing a practice theoretical analogue to the micro-meso-macro levels on which many theorists locate the processes, mechanisms, or principles alleged to determine social change: lives, practices, and constellations of practice. Following this, the chapter presents the account of change developed in a recent book of mine, according to which social changes arise from nexuses of activity chains and material events/processes. I explain how this account locates the determinants of change on none of the three above "levels." The concluding section addresses the causal significance of entrepreneurs, using the above account to show that entrepreneurs can be responsible for change only in restricted circumstances, that they are never solely responsible for change, and that the principal sort of change for which they share responsibility is the advent of "new" phenomena.