From heroism to martyrdom: Entrepreneurial identity work in alternative market movements

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5 Scopus citations


Entrepreneurs play a critical role in the implementation of alternative market movement agendas. The courage and sacrifices of prosocial entrepreneurs who break from the mainstream in support of collective causes are often heroized. In the current study, I use a multiple case study design to explore the heroization of localized food entrepreneurs (LFEs) who are rigidly aligned with the local food movement. I am particularly attentive to how such heroization occurs through a combination of public narratives and the identity work of the entrepreneurs themselves. I argue that heroization reinforces and sustains the rigid alignment between the LFEs and the local food movement and in doing so insidiously compromises their livelihoods and the transformative capacities of their enterprises and the movement as a whole. I draw on the insights generated to introduce to marketing theory the concept of entrepreneurial martyrdom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Alternative market movements
  • entrepreneurial agency
  • entrepreneurial heroism
  • identity work
  • localism
  • social construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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