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Abstract

The Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed in 1988 to facilitate the integration of women entrepreneurs into the business mainstream. Women’s claims over social resources, however, were complicated by the stigma of dependency, prevailing stereotypes of women’s inadequacy and distributional conflict. This paper thus examines how advocates attempted to maneuver around these limitations by constructing a collective identity for women entrepreneurs as an economic development force. Leveraging the ideological and economic appeal of entrepreneurship, advocates advanced new claims on the welfare state which hybridized economic contributions with ideas of interdependence and solidarity. Such claims constitute a partial disruption to the highly durable cultural schemas and logics that underpin social provision, such as the dependence-independence dichotomy.

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