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Ethnic entrepreneurship and the question of agency: the role of different forms of capital, and the relevance of social class

Ethnic entrepreneurship and the question of agency: the role of different forms of capital, and the relevance of social class
Ethnic entrepreneurship and the question of agency: the role of different forms of capital, and the relevance of social class
The literature on ethnic entrepreneurship has focused on structural factors, group characteristics or a combination of both when explaining the entry and/or success of different ethnic groups in/to self-employment. While the active involvement of individuals has often been noted, agency has been under-theorised, and frequently conflated with what are considered as ‘cultural’ factors. This article explores the question of agency in ethnic entrepreneurship by looking at how entrepreneurs access and mobilise different kinds of resources. Using a forms-of-capital approach, the article draws on qualitative data from the UK and Spain, and looks at how entrepreneurs mobilise cultural, social and economic resources in structural contexts that include constraining as well as enabling features. Our findings show that the entrepreneurs are active agents who play an important role in shaping ethnic businesses. However, their agency varies significantly depending on the extent to which entrepreneurs have access to different kinds of resources, which is closely linked to their socioeconomic position. The article contributes to the literature through its direct engagement with the question of agency in ethnic entrepreneurship, and by highlighting the relevance of social class in entrepreneurial processes.
1369-183X
Cederberg, Maja
1f450976-e810-4ad3-9682-964988455a3e
Villares-Varela, Maria
5e63e77d-525f-4196-8be8-e8c7db56eae1
Cederberg, Maja
1f450976-e810-4ad3-9682-964988455a3e
Villares-Varela, Maria
5e63e77d-525f-4196-8be8-e8c7db56eae1

Cederberg, Maja and Villares-Varela, Maria (2018) Ethnic entrepreneurship and the question of agency: the role of different forms of capital, and the relevance of social class. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. (doi:10.1080/1369183X.2018.1459521).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The literature on ethnic entrepreneurship has focused on structural factors, group characteristics or a combination of both when explaining the entry and/or success of different ethnic groups in/to self-employment. While the active involvement of individuals has often been noted, agency has been under-theorised, and frequently conflated with what are considered as ‘cultural’ factors. This article explores the question of agency in ethnic entrepreneurship by looking at how entrepreneurs access and mobilise different kinds of resources. Using a forms-of-capital approach, the article draws on qualitative data from the UK and Spain, and looks at how entrepreneurs mobilise cultural, social and economic resources in structural contexts that include constraining as well as enabling features. Our findings show that the entrepreneurs are active agents who play an important role in shaping ethnic businesses. However, their agency varies significantly depending on the extent to which entrepreneurs have access to different kinds of resources, which is closely linked to their socioeconomic position. The article contributes to the literature through its direct engagement with the question of agency in ethnic entrepreneurship, and by highlighting the relevance of social class in entrepreneurial processes.

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Ethnic_Entrepreneurship_and_Agency_Paper_for_Soton_repository - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 28 December 2019.
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Accepted/In Press date: 28 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 April 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419293
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419293
ISSN: 1369-183X
PURE UUID: 31f41a79-a85c-4127-806f-53ed1bd91f8c
ORCID for Maria Villares-Varela: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0137-7104

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Date deposited: 10 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:27

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Contributors

Author: Maja Cederberg

University divisions

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