Virgil’s Aeneas as the Quintessential Social Entrepreneur: Juxtaposing Selections from Epic Poetry and Entrepreneurship Theory to Teach Social Entrepreneurship

Gordon Shockley, Peter M. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper we propose a pedagogical strategy of juxtaposing Virgil's Aeneid—a canonical epic poem in Western literary tradition—and foundational economic texts in entrepreneurship theory by Joseph Schumpeter and Israel Kirzner. Our utilization of foundational texts of Schumpeter and Kirzner convey the “entrepreneurship” piece in teaching social entrepreneurship. They present students with elements of sound entrepreneurship, such as the novel intuitions and entrepreneurial discovery, the distinct role of the entrepreneur, and the causal functionality of entrepreneurship. Our utilization of Virgil's Aeneid conveys the “social” piece in teaching social entrepreneurship. Certain features distinguish social entrepreneurship from entrepreneurship's other forms, such as a community orientation and private sacrifice for public benefit. The figure of Aeneas in Virgil's Aeneid embodies these features and, we argue, is the quintessential social entrepreneur. Additionally, the structure of the poem puts into fictional and imaginative practice elements of Schumpeterian and Kirznerian entrepreneurship theory. The advantages of our pedagogical approach to teaching social entrepreneurship are that it provides sound entrepreneurship theory; illustrates the “social” in social entrepreneurship; and recognizes the interdisciplinary nature of social entrepreneurship studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-784
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Volume23
Issue numbersup1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

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