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Migrant entrepreneurs as cosmopolitan change agents: A Bourdieuan perspective on capital accumulation

Catarina Figueira (School of Management, Cranfield University, Bedford, UK)
Giorgio Caselli (School of Management, Cranfield University, Bedford, UK)
Nicholas Theodorakopoulos (School of Business, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to provide novel insights into how the cosmopolitan mind-set can be fostered at a time of globalization by considering a group of social actors that has received scant attention in the literature on institutional change, notably migrant entrepreneurs.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual study that draws on Bourdieu’s theory of capital to develop a set of testable propositions as to how the economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital endowments of migrant entrepreneurs shape their agency in bringing about cosmopolitan transformation.

Findings

Together, migrant entrepreneurs endowed with higher levels of capital may act as institution reformers and promote the cosmopolitan mind-set by influencing the beliefs, incentives and behaviors of those embedded in more entrenched traditional institutions.

Research limitations/implications

This conceptual framework deals with only one of the many agents that may help bring about cosmopolitan change and is particularly well suited to a Western European context.

Practical implications

This conceptual paper provides a number of testable propositions that can be central to an empirical investigation into how the levels of capital possessed by migrant entrepreneurs affect their engagement in cosmopolitan change.

Social implications

The findings help identify those individuals who are more likely to endorse the cosmopolitan movement. This implication may be of particular interest to policymakers concerned with conceiving ways of counteracting some of the negative effects caused by globalization, as they need to identify and understand the social agents who can take on the role of catalyzers of public reforms.

Originality/value

The novelty of this paper lies in the development of a set of propositions that shows how divergent change toward a cosmopolitan vision might be engendered by spatially dispersed actors endowed with varying degrees of economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital.

Keywords

Citation

Figueira, C., Caselli, G. and Theodorakopoulos, N. (2016), "Migrant entrepreneurs as cosmopolitan change agents: A Bourdieuan perspective on capital accumulation", Society and Business Review, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 297-312. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-10-2015-0064

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited