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Transnational Communities Programme

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XVth ISA World Congress of Sociology
Brisbane, Australia, July 7-13, 2002

ISA Research Committee on Economy and Society RC02
Call for Papers
Session 1 - Immigration, business, and society

Dieter Bögenhold, Sweden,
Jan Rath, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands,

The goals of the workshop are to stimulate discussion about: i) the development of immigrant entrepreneurship in various sectors in the urban economy, ii) the social, political and economic processes that account for this development, iii) the impact of these business ventures on immigrant incorporation in the wider urban society, and iv) their impact on the urban economy and urban inter-ethnic relations.

The last day for submission of papers to Session Chairs is November 1, 2001. Submit proposals directly to session chairs. Proposals would include a clear summary of theme, data collection, and theoretical directions; schedule on paper completion; a clear commitment about attending the Congress.

For further information go to

An impressive literature on ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship has emerged over the past three decades. At first this work, both theoretically and empirically, was dominated by scholars from the United States and reflected the general characteristics of immigration and government regulation of that country. Subsequently, researchers have explored other national contexts, including traditional immigrant-receptions societies such as Australia and Canada and, more recently, a number of European countries as well. As the scope of this research has expanded, important differences have been identified. For example, the regulatory practices governing small business formation and operation vary enormously between countries, as does the nature of state support for the small business sector and, of course, the mix of migrant groups living within them. At this point, international comparisons of immigrant entrepreneurship nearly all rely upon research done on a nation-by-nation basis. That is, international networks are built around projects conducted by discrete teams of researchers working in separate countries—who meet together from time to time at conferences to compare results. This is also true of the large body of literature on business formation by immigrants: with a few prominent exceptions, virtually all of it is country-specific. What is needed, therefore, is a more active international comparison. Having said that, comparing countries alone does not suffice, since immigrant economic incorporation is the product of a multitude of factors at various levels. It can be argued that the city is a far better unit of analysis. The city represents a level of research that enables both contextual specificity and structural comparisons that allow for the fact that immigrant integration might be influenced simultaneously by local, national and transnational factors.


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