Historicizing the "ethnic' in ethnic entrepreneurship: The case of the ethnic Chinese in Bangkok

Juliette Koning*, Michiel Verver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

This paper aims to come to a better understanding of the meaning of ethnic' in ethnic entrepreneurship for second- and third-generation ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs in Bangkok, Thailand. Research on ethnic Chinese entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia typically investigates the dominance, attributed to specific Chinese' cultural values and strong intra-ethnic networks, of the ethnic Chinese in business and entrepreneurship. Our research among second- and third-generations shows an inclination of the interviewees to emphasize the irrelevance of their ethnic' Chinese background in entrepreneurship. To understand the meanings of the expressed irrelevance, we argue that it is constructive to incorporate a historical/generational approach of the ethnic group (migration history, nationalism) and of the business (social organization) into the study of ethnic entrepreneurship. The contribution to ethnic entrepreneurship research is threefold. Firstly, we show how a generational lens provides a more nuanced understanding of the ethnic' in ethnic entrepreneurship. Secondly, we show how incorporating the historical context helps to position business conduct in the social/societal experiences of entrepreneurs. Finally, our case study of ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs in Thailand brings an Asian perspective to ethnic entrepreneurship debates that generally concern European and North American research studies and thus hopes to inspire future comparative research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-348
Number of pages24
JournalEntrepreneurship and Regional Development
Volume25
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ethnic entrepreneurship
  • generational change
  • historical context
  • ethnic Chinese
  • Thailand
  • MIGRANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  • IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEURS
  • MIXED EMBEDDEDNESS
  • IDENTITY
  • ENTERPRISE
  • NETWORKS
  • REGIME

Cite this