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 editors: Dlaske, Kati

Journal or series: International Journal of the Sociology of Language

ISSN: 0165-2516

eISSN: 1613-3668

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 20/06/2022

Volume: 2022

Issue number: 276

Pages range: 69-91

Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2021-0092

Publication open access: Not 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.

Keywords: immigrants; refugees; entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship education; empowerment; work orientation; language skills; use of language; sociolinguistics; social integration; migrant integration; immigration policy; ethnography; neoliberalism; capitalism

Free keywords: affect; discourse; elevator pitch; empowerment; entrepreneurship; governmentality; refugees

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:15