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Levebröd eller entreprenörskap?: Om utlandsfödda personers företagande i Sverige
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Survival or Entrepreneurship? : Self-Employment among Immigrants in Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

Why are so many persons with an immigrant background self-employed in Sweden? To just say that it is discrimination in the labor market or that some immigrant groups have a “cultural inclination” that makes them fit to run a business does not provide for a full explanation.

I first give an overview of the research of immigrant- and minority business in sociology. I present those factors which place an emphasis on the characteristics and resources among ethnic groups. Thereafter I focus on the structural factors, which can encourage persons from a minority background to become self-employed. My own perspective places an emphasis on social relations when trying to understand the mechanisms which influences a person with an immigrant background to become self-employed. In relation to this, ethnicity defined in a relational context is particularly emphasized. I also examine if self-employment is a solution to the problems of segregation among the foreign born in Sweden.

I have chosen to study persons with an Iranian, Kurdish and Chilean background who start and run their own businesses. One important result in this investigation is that many of the persons from all three groups have a common experience of discrimination and exclusion in the Swedish labor market and in society at large. There are some individuals who became self-employed to bring a business concept into reality, i.e. in this sense they are entrepreneurs. But even in these cases there were elements of features of discrimination that motivated them to become self-employed. Another finding is that especially persons with a Kurdish background often make use of their ethnic or social network when they start and run their own businesses. Many of the self-employed in this study are well educated, but often participate in business activities that do not require so many qualifications. They are in some respects economically integrated, but the question remains whether or not the ethnic segregation still exists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2007. , 181 p.
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 28
Keyword [en]
ethnicity, self-employment, entrepreneurship, discrimination, integration, social networks
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6773ISBN: 978-91-85445-63-9OAI: diva2:197018
Public defence
2007-05-04, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-04-12 Created: 2007-04-12 Last updated: 2012-10-05Bibliographically approved

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