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To Be an Entrepreneur

Social Enterprise and Disruptive Development in Bangladesh

In To Be an Entrepreneur, Julia Qermezi Huang focuses on Bangladesh's iAgent social-enterprise model, the set of economic processes that animate the delivery of this model, and the implications for women's empowerment. The book offers new ethnographic approaches that reincorporate relational economics into the study of social enterprise. It details the tactics, dilemmas, compromises, aspirations, and unexpected possibilities that digital social enterprise opens up for women entrepreneurs, and reveals the implications of policy models promoting women's empowerment: the failure of focusing on individual autonomy and independence.

While describing the historical and incomplete transition of Bangladesh's development models from their roots in a patronage-based moral economy to a market-based social-enterprise arrangement, Huang concludes that market-driven interventions fail to grasp the sociopolitical and cultural contexts in which poverty and gender inequality are embedded and sustained.

Author Information

Julia Qermezi Huang is a Lecturer in Anthropology of Development at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of Tribeswomen of Iran. Follow her on Twitter @Juli_Q_Huang.


Anke Schwittay, University of Sussex, author of  New Media and International Development:

"To Be an Entrepreneur makes a significant contribution to a number of academic literatures in anthropology, development studies and beyond. It adds an ethnographically rich and analytically sophisticated case to the growing literature on social enterprises in international development."

Naila Kabeer, London School of Economics, author of Social Protection as Development Policy:

"A very well researched and written book. Huang forges an organic link between anthropological theories on the new entrepreneurship and her own empirical findings and weaves these together in a seamless narrative."

Audience: General/trade;