Conceptualising cosmopolitanism and entrepreneurship through the lens of the three-dimensional theory of power

Nikolai Mouraviev, Nada K. Kakabadse

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Purpose – The paper aims to conceptualise cosmopolitanism drivers from the third-level power perspective by drawing on Lukes’ (1974; 2005) theory of power. In addition, the paper aims to investigate the relationship between entrepreneurs’ cosmopolitan dispositions and habitus, i.e. a pattern of an individual’s demeanour, as understood by Bourdieu. Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual paper makes use of Bourdieu’s framework (habitus) by extending it to the urban cosmopolitan environment and linking habitus to the three-dimensional theory of power and, importantly, to the power’s third dimension – preference-shaping. Findings – Once cosmopolitanism is embedded in the urban area’s values, this creates multiple endless rounds of mutual influence (by power holders onto entrepreneurs via political and business elites, and by entrepreneurs onto power holders via the same channels), with mutual benefit. Therefore, mutually beneficial influence that transpires in continuous support of a cosmopolitan city’s environment may be viewed as one of the factors that enhances cosmopolitan cities’ resilience to changes in macroeconomic conditions. Originality/value – The paper offers a theoretical model that enriches the understanding of the power-cosmopolitanism-entrepreneurship link, by emphasising the preference-shaping capacity of power, which leads to the embedment of cosmopolitanism in societal values. As a value shared by political and business elites, cosmopolitanism is also actively promoted by entrepreneurs through their disposition and habitus. This ensures not only their willing compliance with power and the environment, but also their enhancement of favourable business conditions. Entrepreneurs depart from mere acquiescence (to power and its explicit dominance), and instead practice their cosmopolitan influence by active preference-shaping.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-256
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Business Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2016


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Power
  • Habitus
  • Cosmopolitan disposition


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