Robert Newbery, Newcastle University Business School,

Jane Atterton, Rural Policy Centre, SRUC

Gary Bosworth, Lincoln School of Geography

Nikolaos Apostolopoulos,  University of Plymouth


The annual Rural Entrepreneurship conference (now in its 17th year) offers a forum for academic and practitioner development; however, the sociological roots of rural entrepreneurship are far from clear. We propose holding a working group that develops the sociology of rural entrepreneurship and changing the Rural Entrepreneurship conference into a bi-annual conference that alternates with ESRS. The objective is to create a pipeline for the development and discussion of strong theoretical papers that will further expand the field of rural entrepreneurship.


Entrepreneurship is a maturing academic field that claims its heritage as a hodgepodge of disciplines. However (and to essentialise) at its ontological heart it is most often found as a positivistic and epistemologically quantitative paradigm that has pushed interpretivist and socially constructed qualitative approaches to the margin. Nowhere is this more apparent than in rural entrepreneurship, a ‘sub-field’ where an academic heritage of rural social inquiry leaves rural entrepreneurship often searching for a disciplinary home. Approaches have been made to locate this academic base and ontological, epistemological, empirical and theoretical papers have sought to define rural entrepreneurship. This working group provides a forum for sociological approaches to rural entrepreneurship.


Traditional Format 3-4 papers with allocated discussants followed by wider discussion