Entrepreneurship has become an important issue in contemporary management practice and research. While there is much debate about conditions for and benefits of entrepreneurial behavior, the persistence of entrepreneurial behavior and its obvious pervasion in many areas of life remains largely unexplored. It is this persuasive power that inspired us to conceptualize entrepreneurship as a dominant institution in modern Western societies in this paper and to analyze its increasing pervasiveness. In contrast to most institutional approaches which draw on entrepreneurial behavior for studying institutional change, our approach focuses on the societal preconditions for the dominance of entrepreneurship. We propose that in modern Western societies, entrepreneurial behavior is not deemed as exceptional any longer, but has increasingly become routine behavior. We analyze how entrepreneurial behavior is associated with ideals of modern Western societies like cultural individualism, change and economic wealth. We elaborate on how these ideals are specified in classical academic definitions of entrepreneurial actors and how they are reified in techniques of control. We also address how individuals are socialized into an entrepreneurial society and in which ways their behavior contributes to legitimize entrepreneurship and strengthen its persistence. Our conceptual analysis provides a sensitizing framework for research on differences in the valuation of entrepreneurial behavior acrosssocietal settings, as well as for the study of mechanisms for the deepening of taken for-grantedness of entrepreneurship over time.