The New Bottom Line: Black Women Cultural Entrepreneurs Re-Define Success in The Connected Economy
Buford, Kathryn Buford
Hill Collins, Patricia
MetadataShow full item record
Black women cultural entrepreneurs are a group of entrepreneurs that merit further inquiry. Using qualitative interview and participant observation data, this dissertation investigates the ways in which black women cultural entrepreneurs define success. My findings reveal that black women cultural entrepreneurs are a particular interpretive community with values, perspectives and experiences, which are not wholly idiosyncratic, but shaped by collective experiences and larger social forces. Black women are not a monolith, but they are neither disconnected individuals completely devoid of group identity. The meaning they give to their businesses, professional experiences and understandings of success are influenced by their shared social position and identity as black women. For black women cultural entrepreneurs, the New Bottom Line goes beyond financial gain. This group, while not uniform in their understandings of success, largely understand the most meaningful accomplishments they can realize as social impact in the form of cultural intervention, black community uplift and professional/creative agency. These particular considerations represent a new paramount concern, and alternative understanding of what is typically understood as the bottom line. The structural, social and personal challenges that black women cultural entrepreneurs encounter have shaped their particular perspectives on success. I also explore the ways research participants articulated an oppositional consciousness to create an alternative means of defining and achieving success. I argue that this consciousness empowers them with resources, connections and meaning not readily conferred in traditional entrepreneurial settings. In this sense, the personal, social and structural challenges have been foundational to the formation of an alternative economy, which I refer to as The Connected Economy. Leading and participating in The Connected Economy, black women cultural entrepreneurs represent a black feminist and womanist critique of dominant understandings of success.