Revisiting the ‘ethnic enclave economy’: resilient adaptation of small businesses in times of crisis in Spain

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The term 'ethnic enclave economy', defined as a special case of ethnic economy, was formulated more than 25 years ago and since then has been subject to a great debate. Spatially concentrated businesses have for a long time been viewed as particularly anomalous and their economic significance for the society has been overlooked. Yet, recent processes of economic globalisation have generated growing demands for small and flexible businesses in urban cities, with the effect of an increasing number of ethnic entrepreneurial activities. This paper revisits the mainstream definitions of 'ethnic enclave', by taking into account new approaches that can be used to adapt the term to the dynamics of global economy and to disassociate it from a territorially fixed and circumscribed place. At the same time, these approaches provide a strong foundation to shape the enclave as a form of economic resilience in times of crisis. Most of the defining characteristics of the enclave explain how businesses are able to adapt and expand taking advantage of their competitiveness in spite of the economic recession. Such a line of argument is illustrated and discussed through empirical data from two case studies: Pakistani businesses in the neighborhood of Raval (Barcelona), and the Indian souvenir business in the Catalan coast (Girona).
Original languageSpanish
JournalInternational Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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