To read this content please select one of the options below:

Against all odds: refugees bricoleuring in the void

Sibylle Heilbrunn (Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Kinneret Academic College, Kinneret, Israel)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019




In an extreme and intentional institutional void, African refugees in Israel are bricoleuring by building an entrepreneurship market next to an “open” detention camp. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how refugee entrepreneurs overcome institutional voids through bricolage in an illegal marketplace outside the detention camp.


In order to deal with the question of why and how people act entrepreneurial under extreme circumstances, the interpretive/social constructionist paradigm is applied in form of the multiple stories milieu case study pattern. Data were gathered via official reports, interviews and observations.


Outside the detention camp it is via bricolage that entrepreneurs address the economic detour in the intentional institutional void. At a place which is meant to make asylum seekers leave Israel by coining them “infiltrators” and by “making their lives miserable,” bricoleurs attend their own and the needs of fellow detainees providing goods and service and community space.


By contextualizing entrepreneurial practices, the paper contributes to the understanding of refugee entrepreneurship by demonstrating how refugees – within the pressure and constraints of context – initiate entrepreneurial activities. Theoretically the paper extends knowledge of minority entrepreneurs who are acting as bricoleurs, explaining how their entrepreneuring can be a kind of space creation process.



Heilbrunn, S. (2019), "Against all odds: refugees bricoleuring in the void", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1045-1064.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles