A1 Journal article (refereed)
Language, (em)power(ment) and affective capitalism : the case of an entrepreneurship workshop for refugees in Germany (2022)

Dlaske, K. (2022). Language, (em)power(ment) and affective capitalism : the case of an entrepreneurship workshop for refugees in Germany. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2022(276), 69-91. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2021-0092

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsDlaske, Kati

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language



Publication year2022

Publication date20/06/2022


Issue number276

Pages range69-91

PublisherMouton de Gruyter

Publication countryGermany

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82312


This paper seeks to advance research on the nexus of language, work-related training and affective capitalism by focusing on an entrepreneurship workshop organized for newly arrived refugees in Germany. Despite the occupational orientation, the primary objective of the workshop was not establishing a business but “empowering” the participants by guiding them to adopt “an entrepreneurial mindset”. To delve deeper into this ‘will to empower’, the study brings together the perspectives of governmentality studies, ethnography, discourse studies and affect studies. To investigate in more detail the evocation of the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’, the study draws on ethnographic data collected in the context of the workshop and focuses on a particular discursive resource, the genre ‘elevator pitch’. The analysis examines how this genre operated as a technology of government by allowing an attempt at modulating the affective states and attachments of the participants so as to evoke an affective configuration characterized by hardness, resilience and diligence, but above all by aspiration, optimism and confidence: faith in oneself, and a horizon of hope that the possibility of self-employment created. The concluding section discusses this subjectification regime as a manifestation of contemporary affective capitalism, in the context of forced migration and beyond, in the light of recent social and sociolinguistic research.

Keywordsimmigrantsrefugeesentrepreneurshipentrepreneurship educationempowermentwork orientationlanguage skillsuse of languagesociolinguisticssocial integrationmigrant integrationimmigration policyethnographyneoliberalismcapitalism

Free keywordsaffect; discourse; elevator pitch; empowerment; entrepreneurship; governmentality; refugees

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:35