Entrepreneurship and regional development in Europe: A comparative, socio-anthropological case study in Germany and Spain

  • Richard Pfeilstetter University of Seville
Keywords: entrepreneurship, anthropology of development, regional development


This paper summarises the design, data and results of our research on the emergence and consolidation of forms of institutionalisation based on innovative entrepreneurial action in rural European territorial contexts. The investigation was conducted between the years 2006 and 2010. We present data obtained in two territorial references, the regions of Los Pedroches in Andalusia, Spain and Mühldorf in Bavaria, Germany. The paper explores the contributions of social anthropology to prevailing economic entrepreneurship theory by focusing on intangible, cultural variables that influence the implementation of local entrepreneurial initiatives. Presenting data from a case study of two European rural areas of different levels of economic development, the text argues that entrepreneurial research needs to incorporate qualitative data on the sociocultural preconditions of emerging innovative institutions. The research emphasises the need for a broader concept of entrepreneurial behaviour that is able to overcome the reductionist idea of firm creation, and presents a theoretical model for actor-based territorial development studies founded on the combined social theories of Niklas Luhmann and Pierre Bourdieu.