Business biographies

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19, biographical sketches of the local and regional elites aimed to create a common idea of public spirit and civic duty and to define an all-American ideal of citizenship. At the same time, however, the immigrant communities were creating their own compilations of representative biographies, celebrating, for example, the german element in works published throughout the United States. 20, biographies remained an ambivalent element in forming melting-pot America. This ambivalence was of particular importance in business: Many of the leading entrepreneurs were persons whose success often resulted from rude and shrewd business deals and practices. 22, the notorious robber barons undermined the jacksonian ideal of local and mid-sized business communities, while sharp scrutiny of their private lives and habits was used to discuss the rise of big business and monopolies and the danger to civil society. 23, during the Progressive era, biographies of businessmen had an important critical function in public debate and helped lend legitimacy to anti-monopoly legislation and other reform efforts throughout the early twentieth century, none more, perhaps, than Ida tarbells biography of the business of John. Rockefeller, The history of the Standard Oil Company.

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15, these biographies were interested in the secrets of success and in the example that prosperous and innovative businesspeople presented. Biographers claimed to be offering keen insights into the intellectual and moral worlds of industrialists. Austin Adams, for example, declared in his profile of John. Spreckels that I have long and keenly watched this big man. i have watched him in moments of exaltation or of hilarity, and in moments of wordless grief and crushing sorrow; I have watched the working of his mind and spirit in no end of subjects. I know the man — his soul — his secret — and it is in the light of my discovery of this inward and spiritual side that I have told the story of his outward and visible life. 16, adams idol was one of Californias leading investors, second generation German-American immigrant entrepreneur John. Spreckels, and Adams biography offers a myopic portrait of Spreckels life. Throughout the nineteenth century entrepreneurs were presented as representative men who served as examples pdf to their communities and were publicly celebrated in biographical compendia on local and regional elites. The dominant narrative was that of a self-made man who lived the American dream by advancing through hard work to economic and social success. 18, during the gilded Age, entrepreneurs were integral members of the class of pioneers merchants, orators, and divines, who made the country and its counties and were perceived as apostles of growth, civilization and wealth.

This process, ideally, can force us to think more honestly and summary self-critically about the uses and functions of history and historical knowledge in modern societies. The paradox is that not only do we attribute agency to others, but as experts, we are constantly fighting against the subjective knowledge of the majority. We no longer see our work — individually and as a profession — as an exact reconstruction of the past. Instead, we are more likely to reflect on how inherited narratives should be reconstructed and challenged — and why. Entrepreneurs, broadly stated, formed the core of the bourgeois middle and upper classes that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and have remained the most prominent and lauded figures in American society. Consider, for example, the celebration of small business as the backbone of our economy by President Barack Obama and the lionization of business leaders such as Steve jobs, whose biography was a 1 bestseller. Although nineteenth and early-twentieth century biographies predominantly focused on great men (and a few women) — namely politicians, writers, civic activists, and religious leaders — entrepreneurs were also prominently covered in the public media of the time.

business biographies

10 Must-read Inspiring Business leader biographies

9, mentalities and meanings, practices and performance, emotions and feelings — all of these fields of modern research need a biographical backing. The genre of biography is no longer a backward and conservative method but an experimental field for the historiography of the twenty-first century. 10, it allows a theoretically and methodologically advanced history without a meta-narrative. 11, this does not mean that biographies are a tool to examine the lost subjectivity and individuality of modern history. Bourdieus warning that we cannot write biographies without a clear-cut understanding of historical context and a detailed empirical examination of the social world must be taken seriously. Although the growing importance of the genre can also be seen as one sign of the age of fracture and the attractiveness of a neoliberal, reflexive modernity, it is the interaction between public presentation and private, the general and the individual, which allows a thorough description. 12, modern biographies are an indispensable tool of historiography but they offer no silver bullet for significantly better results. 13, biographies are surely a challenge for historians: thinking about subjectivity pertains not only to this particular genre but has a bearing on diary the social role of all scholars doing historical research. Biographical research helps us to reflect — individually and as a profession — on how we organize knowledge and why.

The usefulness of deconstructing the individual, on the other hand, is open to question, given that most people develop a coherent identity by using a consistent narrative of the self and the social world. British sociologist Anthony giddens discussion of the ontological security of modern individuals seems to be a better starting point for biographical research. People use their individual experience to give meaning and coherence to their lives even while acknowledging they have only an incomplete understanding and that there are a myriad of challenges and alternatives in the private and social worlds. 6, closely related to bourdieus criticism is the accusation that biographies tend to reproduce class structures. The biographical genre was, for a long period, a self-expression of the bourgeois subject and a solipsistic project of historians to enhance their own status through their reflections on the lives of great men. In recent decades, however, this has changed with the rise of the history of everyday life and growing interest in the lives of individuals of atypical prominence from minority groups and of ordinary people, broadly speaking. 8, biographical research has not only benefitted from such new areas of attention but has become an important methodological and analytical tool for introducing the challenges of the cultural turn into historiography.

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business biographies

Jacob Fugger the rich: Merchant and Banker of Augsburg

Consequently, the projects website includes a growing number of for thematic essays and teaching tools intended to link the individual cases to the large number of historiographical sub-disciplines, and enable teachers and the general public to situate the individual cases in the larger American historical experience. The biographies of the Immigrant Entrepreneurship project are freely available to the public via the projects website. As of October 2014, more than 130 biographies had been posted, more than 50 additional manuscripts are in the editorial process, and eventually more than 200 individual contributions will provide detailed and nuanced information about German-American immigrant entrepreneurship during the last three centuries. The website offers not only biographical articles but also fresh insights into migration, business, and social history by including more than 1,400 images and nearly 700 documents that shed light on business, family life, and social experiences. The research project covers the well-documented period of individual capitalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but also presents more than twenty biographies each for the periods before 1840 and after World War ii, providing a vivid picture of the dramatic changes. Biographical research creates its own dynamics: with each new biography received from our contributors, we have had to learn how to deal with typical narratives of the genre, how to become more specific in our comments and review questions, and how to deal with the.

Although the methodological and theoretical challenges of biographies were considered extensively in developing the projects research design, the practical experience of the last four years has pushed us towards constant re-reflection on the projects conceptualization and our editorial practice. Although sociologists announced a biographical turn more than a decade ago, scholars have often had to defend biographical research against basic epistemological criticism. 3, one well-known and broadly discussed example was French sociologist pierre bourdieus attack on the biographical illusion. 4, summary for bourdieu, biography was an expression of bourgeois ideology, with the identity and personality of the bourgeois emerging from a non-reflective approach that begins with the writer taking the subjects life for granted as a continuum of events that can — and should —. Bourdieu argued that the individual is not given but produced, with attributes of identity and personality dependent on his or her social world, and that without an analysis of social and historical space there cannot be any understanding of a biography. Consequently, he proposed, biographical research should not start with an analysis of a proposed subjectivity but with the object structures of the social world. 5, bourdieus argument challenged scholars to more deeply explore individual practices under varying social conditions.

Immigrant entrepreneurship was one of the decisive factors in the United States' rise as an economic superpower in the late nineteenth century. The country benefited from the relative openness and freedom that attracted talent from around the world and encouraged minorities who fled discrimination elsewhere to try their luck. The collaborative research project, immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business biographies, 1720 to the Present explores the entrepreneurial and economic capacity of immigrants by investigating the german-American example in the United States. It traces the lives, careers, and business ventures of  German-American businesspeople of roughly the last two hundred and ninety years, integrating the history of German-American immigration into the larger narrative. Economic and business history. This online biographical dictionary synthesizes the results of the collaborative research project with a large collection of archival materials.

The project is also a work in progress. New materials and essays will be added on a continual basis as the project expands. Continue reading about the project. Since 2010, the collaborative research project Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business biographies, 1720 to the Present, has explored the entrepreneurial, economic, social, and cultural capacity of immigrants by investigating the german-American example in the United States. 1, biographies of businesspeople offer a new integrative perspective not only to trace the lives, careers, and business ventures of significant immigrants but to answer core questions of American, business, and migration history in a new way. Our main presupposition was that biographies would enable us to question notions of American exceptionalism in order to situate. History in a transnational framework and understand the formation and ongoing changes of an immigrant nation over a period of nearly 300 years. The Immigrant Entrepreneurship project aims to explore hundreds of biographies; the sheer amount of this material has made clear that biographies can be used not only to analyze individual lives but also to address general questions in the history of capitalism and modernity. 2, the accumulation of biographical details should enable us to more clearly discern and analyze the general patterns of American history as a history of immigration and acculturation.

Biographies: biography, famous people, biographical

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business biographies

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