Europeanisation of Ethnicity or Ethnicisation of Europe? Patterns of Entrepreneurship Among Intra-European Migrants in Poland

Saturday, April 16, 2016
Assembly A (DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City)
Katarzyna Andrejuk , Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
The presentation explores resilience of the European project on the micro level of social practices: activities of transnational and ethnic firms. Migrant entrepreneurship is often examined in the context of businesses which base on ethnic capital and enable migrants to escape the trap of marginalisation in the host country’s labour market. On the other hand, principles of free movement within the European Union enable another, “Europeanised” approach: pursuant to the rules of free movement of persons, capital and services, mobile professionals are encouraged to establish and develop firms in any EU Member State, avoiding institutional marginalisation associated with the immigrant status.  The aim of the presentation is to compare these two concepts and analyse their usefulness in explaining migrant entrepreneurship in Poland. The research is based on over 60 in-depth interviews with intra-EU migrants (from various Member States) and third country nationals (from Ukraine) who live in Poland. The presentation will explore how differences in the legal framework translate into different business strategies of intra-EU migrants and third country nationals. It will also describe patterns of using cultural background (employing co-nationals, selling ethnic products, attracting ethnic customers) in business activities of the Ukrainians and intra-EU migrants. The results indicate that while the EU economic crisis did not visibly affect business strategies of intra-EU migrants in Poland, the influence of the political crisis in Ukraine on patterns of establishing and developing Ukrainian businesses in Poland is significant.