Date of Award

Summer 7-1-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Hromadžić, Azra


Business and Society, Entrepreneurship, India, International Development, Investments, Startups

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Business | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology


This dissertation examines the emerging cultures of venture capital-driven, technology-infused startups in India and the multiple ways in which they shape the nation's entrepreneurship landscape. Based on findings drawn from 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork with Delhi's startups, I argue that entrepreneurship serves as a cultural and ideological formation that creates a new regime of values and reshapes our social, political, and civil life. In this sense, I suggest that previous studies on entrepreneurship which focus purely on its economic impacts (or lack thereof) tend to undervalue the long-lasting cultural transformations created through it. One of the primary ways in which startup cultures constitute a distinct cultural and ideological formation in India is through the operation of what I call 'entrepreneurial humanitarianism', a blending of ethically, spiritually, and culturally shaped action. These emergent practices help startup founders distinguish themselves from other types of entrepreneurial formations even as founders simultaneously pursue nationalist visions of good citizenship and aspirations of belonging to a global community. Entrepreneurial actions interweave state policy and global networks of capital, creating new ways of conceptualizing value in self, business, and socio-cultural life. These emergent movements, which are continually unfolding, signal the cultural and ideological transformations at the dawn of a new era of digital capitalism.


Open Access