An emerging scholarly critique has claimed that entrepreneurial education triggers more neoliberalism in education, leading to increased inequality, neglect of civic values and an unjust blame of poor citizens for their misfortunes. The purpose of this paper is to develop a deeper understanding of this potentially problematic relationship between entrepreneurial education and neoliberalism.
A Hegelian dialectic method is used consisting of three steps. First, a thesis is articulated based on emerging literature, stating that entrepreneurial education triggers more neoliberalism in education. Then an antithesis is developed representing a logical opposite to the thesis. Finally, the resulting tensions are embraced in a synthesis that triggers deeper understanding.
The synthesis indicates that entrepreneurial education based on a self-oriented search for own happiness leads to more neoliberalism in education, and entrepreneurial education based on an others-oriented search for a meaningful impact on others mitigates some of the already strong neoliberal tendencies in education.
Due to an overlap between the two constructs, happiness and meaningfulness, it is difficult to fully disentangle doing well from doing good. How these two opposites interact is a topic that requires more research.
A “students-as-givers” kind of entrepreneurial education could represent a way to reach teachers currently skeptical of entrepreneurial education due to its perceived connection to capitalism. This could also make entrepreneurial education relevant to a wider student audience.
The paper represents a rare attempt to reconcile critical and praising perspectives on entrepreneurial education.
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