Professor Stephen Syrett and Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles

Diasporas, identity and enterprise: Conceptualising politicised ethnic entrepreneurship

This paper extends the scope of existing theoretical understanding of ethnic and transnational entrepreneurship to identify the phenomenon of politicised ethnic entrepreneurship. It argues that within certain predominantly stateless diasporic groups, entrepreneurial activity is embedded within the development of a politicised ethnic identity and economy which has remained largely unexamined. For diaspora groups that lack any ‘home’ nation state, such as the Kurds, Tamils, Palestinians and Sikhs, the development of entrepreneurial ventures is informed by, and intimately related to, the evolution of a highly ethnically politicised diasporic identity, which contributes to the development of a wider transnational ethnic economy organised around a diasporic consciousness, identity and cross-national solidarity. Through theoretical examination of the interplay between transnational enterprise, diasporas and identity, the paper identifies the defining characteristics of politicised ethnic entrepreneurship and sets out a conceptual model for understanding its emergence and development. This theoretical model provides a platform for empirical study and has implications for policy development.

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