Defying contextual embeddedness: evidence from displaced women entrepreneurs in Jordan

Haya Al-Dajani, Hammad Akbar, Sara Carter, Eleanor Shaw

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Although entrepreneurial practices and processes are evolving and changing globally, models of entrepreneurship remain masculinised, embedded in advanced economies and associated with notions of individual agency, heroism and control. Rarely is defiance considered. In this paper, we explore the defiance practices of displaced women operating in the Jordanian patriarchal economy and society and consider how this enabled their nurturing of entrepreneurship. Indeed, we argue that socially excluded women actually defy their contextual embeddedness through their entrepreneurial activities. In so doing, we respond to calls for research that explores the contextual embeddedness of women’s entrepreneurship, and contribute to shifting the focus towards the 'more silent feminine end of the entrepreneurial process' (Bird and Brush 2002, 57). We consider the defiance of invisible displaced women entrepreneurs operating in the under-researched context of Jordan. Longitudinal, ethnographic investigation revealed the creation of a secret production network led by, and for, displaced women. This paper focuses on the five founders of this network, which they established to mobilise and manage the production of traditional crafts and, by so doing, to defy the stifling limitations imposed by their restrictive contractors, community and family members.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalEntrepreneurship & Regional Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Feb 2018


  • women's entrepreneurship
  • defiance
  • displaced women
  • contextual embeddedness
  • secret networks
  • Jordan
  • traditional crafts


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