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Title: ‘What’s new?’ The rhetoric construction of innovation by ethnically diverse creative entrepreneurs
Authors: Thoelen, Annelies 
Zanoni, Patrizia 
Issue Date: 2012
Source: International Conference on Organizational Discourse, Amsterdam, Nederland, 18-20 July 2012
Abstract: Conceptualizing innovation as the ‘social and cultural act of ascribing value’ (Rehn and Vachhani 2006), this study investigates how ethnically diverse creative entrepreneurs rhetorically construct their work as innovative. Drawing on Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s (1969) theory of rhetoric, we specifically examine how they deploy rhetorical schemes – frames minimally connecting ideas and concepts – to build claims of aesthetic innovation. From our analysis, three main types of argumentations emerged, each characterized by specific rhetorical schemes. A first type claims innovation by relying on liaisons of coexistence relating one’s creative work to one’s unique self and biography. A second type uses comparisons and model schemes to claim innovation vis-à-vis other (previously existing) products and traditions. Finally, a third type claims innovation by highlighting the power struggles with ‘significant others’ to affirm one’s creative work relying on personifications and hierarchies. The study contributes to the existing literature by showing how rhetoric schemes link familiar ideas and concepts in ways that turn these into rhetoric resources to claim symbolic value.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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