Understanding ethnic entrepreneurship in agricultural settings : qualitative comparative analysis of ethnic groups in New Zealand agriculture
This thesis examines ethnic solidarity and ethnic resource mobilisation within agricultural settings using Qualitative Comparative Analysis of ethnic groups in New Zealand agriculture. The thesis addresses ethnic solidarity through the application of the concept of ethnic entrepreneurship. Major theoretical perspectives on ethnic entrepreneurship have identified situational and cultural factors as responsible for the mobilisation of ethnic resources in economic activities. This thesis argues that these two groups of factors, when taken together, provide a comprehensive explanation for ethnic solidarity in business and the development of stable social structures for mobilisation of resources within ethnic groups involved in agriculture. Thus, the thesis derived a simple causal model which combines situational explanations with the key aspects of cultural approaches in considering the reasons for ethnic solidarity and development of ethnic networks in business. This composite model of ethnic entrepreneurship considered host hostility in conjunction with collectivistic cultural endowments as the principal causal configuration responsible for development of ethnic business networks. The model also pointed at the recursive effects of ethnic networks and ethnic solidarity in business, which could be associated with conflicts between ethnic entrepreneurs and competing groups from the host population. Theoretical arguments derived from the model were empirically evaluated by using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), a method suitable to assess theoretical propositions derived from composite models, and used to provide causal explanation in social science. The thesis employed a multiple groups/one industry research design and provided a systematic, holistic comparison of eleven ethnic groups which consistently played an important role in the history of New Zealand agriculture during the ninetieth and twentieth centuries. These were: the Chinese, Indian and Italian market gardeners; the Lebanese, Dalmatian and French grape growers and wine makers; the Scandinavian and Bohemian dairy farmers; the German and Polish farmers and growers, and finally, the recent Dutch immigrants who became largely involved in the horticultural and dairy industries. These eleven comparative case studies were designed to provide a formal, coherent analysis of the empirical evidence which generated data on the key comparative components. The empirical research showed that only Asian entrepreneurs developed informal, ethnically bounded business networks. These networks facilitated the mobilisation and distribution of ethnic resources, and provided support for Asian entrepreneurs in starting and carrying out their farming businesses. In terms of causal analysis the empirical research showed how both social and cultural factors were relevant for mobilisation of intra-group resources and the emergence of ethnic business networks within the Chinese and Indian farmers in New Zealand. Certain social factors, such as considerable host hostility and discrimination faced by Asian immigrants, enhanced ethnic solidarity and mutual co-operation in economic matters. The ethnic business networks developed were deeply rooted in the cultural tradition of collectivism, which encompassed certain cultural endowments capable of promoting the establishment of network-based economic mechanisms and which also impelled strong bonds of ethnic solidarity in business. Generally, the thesis focused on the influence of non-economic factors in explaining economic activity of ethnic groups, and also pointed at ethnically-bounded business networks as structures for mobilisation of resources within ethnic communities in business. Some concepts used in the research, such as embeddedness of economic actions, networks, social and cultural capital, are also relevant for current ethnic business development in New Zealand. The thesis considered some policy implications and also indicated how these concepts could be applied to more policy-oriented research.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsethnicity; entrepreneurship; economic sociology; composite models; ethnic business networks; ethnic farming enterprises; host hostility; collectivistic cultural endowments; qualitative comparative analysis; New Zealand
Fields of Research160804 Rural Sociology
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