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The tech entrepreneur in Colombia: a discussion of actor-network-theory, Lacanian theory and social imaginaries


Sebastian Camilo Santisteban

CEIPA Business School, CO
About Sebastian

PhD investigador y consultor en los temas de startups tecnológicas, creatividad, innovación y emprendimiento. Su investigación se fundamenta en los estudios culturales, la teoría de la administración contemporánea y el psicoanálisis lacaniano. Doctor en Estudios Sociales de la Universidad Externado de Colombia. Maestría en Tecnologías de Información aplicadas a Empresas en Macquarie University de Sydney – Australia. Administrador de Empresas de la Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería “Julio Garativo”. Beca Colciencias para realizar estudios de doctorado. Beca Colfuturo para realizar estudios de posgrado en el exterior. Pasantía de investigación en la Universidad de Ámsterdam. Profesor universitario.

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The figure of the tech entrepreneur has gained special relevance in the contemporary world. Recognized stories of success such as those of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have popularized worldwide the imagination of the young student who starts a garage company with nothing more than his own passion, intelligence and determination, and becomes a global celebrity and a billionaire in just a few years. Nevertheless, the discourses and cultural productions that shape this figure do not always adhere to empirical consequences and factual data, but in fact, are the result of some processes determined by the desires and dreams of those who construct and transmit it (entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship gurus and experts, advertisers, government agencies, etc.), as well as those who consume it (young people with entrepreneurial aspirations). In this process of analyzing the “material/empiric” dimension of the figure of the tech entrepreneur in contrast with the “symbolic/imaginary” dimension, this article proposes a theoretical discussion between the Actor-Network-Theory, the Lacanian psychoanalysis and the Social Imaginaries theory. Based on the work by Lacan, Latour and Taylor and recurring to interviews applied to tech entrepreneurs in Colombia in different stages of development, it is concluded that the symbolic/imaginary dimension plays a fundamental role in structuring the contemporary figure of the tech entrepreneur with important implications at the level of the material/empirical reality, insofar as it shapes actions and objects. Thus, the Lacanian theory and the Social Imaginaries constitute two fundamental frameworks of analysis that contribute to understanding more comprehensively how the tech sector works as well as what sort of technological objects are created.

How to Cite: Santisteban, S.C., 2019. The tech entrepreneur in Colombia: a discussion of actor-network-theory, Lacanian theory and social imaginaries. Digithum, (23). DOI:
Published on 10 Apr 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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