Ulrich Bröckling

The Entrepreneurial Self - The Sociology of a Subjectification Form

(German title: Das unternehmerische Selbst)
ca. 327 pages
Ulrich Bröckling

Ulrich Bröckling

Ulrich Bröckling, born in 1959, is Professor for Sociology of Culture at Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg.

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English world rights (Sage), Spanish rights Latin America (Alberto Hurtado), Korea (Hanul)


The maxim »act entrepreneurially!« is the categorical imperative of the present. You are not an entrepreneurial self, but you are supposed to become one. And you become one by being creative, flexible, self-reliant, risk-conscious, and customer-oriented in all situations.

This general model is simultaneously a dreadful one. What everyone is supposed to become is precisely what threatens everyone. Competition subjects the entrepreneurial self to the dictate of perpetual self-optimization, yet no amount of effort can ward off one’s fear of failure. Ulrich Bröckling’s fundamental sociological study takes this ambivalence into account and hones it into a diagnosis of contemporary society.


»‘Act entrepreneurially!’ is the categorical imperative of the present. […] In his urgent analysis, Ulrich Bröckling goes through the catch-phrase catalogue from which the latest business philosophies are assembled in order to see through life conceived as permanent assessment center. […] The entrepreneurial self is not only a general model, but, indeed, a dreadful one.« Frankfurter Rundschau