Dissertation Abstracts

Mixed Embeddedness and Nigerian Immigrants’ Informal Entrepreneurship in Ghana

Author: Thomas Antwi Bosiakoh, bosiakoh@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Macquarie University, Australia
Supervisor: Prof. Ellie VASTA
Year of completion: 2017
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Immigrant entrepreneurship , Mixed embeddedness , Nigeria , Ghana
Areas of Research: Migration , Economy and Society , Population

Abstract

This thesis on entrepreneurship of Nigerian immigrants in Ghana, is positioned at the intersection of mixed embeddedness as an explanatory framework for migration and the formation of immigrant entrepreneurship in a developing country context. Leaning on the constructivist epistemology with the empirical base anchored in in-depth interviews and observation data from Accra, the capital of Ghana, Kumasi, the second largest city after Accra, and Ashaiman, a sprawling sub-urban settlement, it argues that the formation of immigrant entrepreneurship can be researched as a form of mixed embeddedness. Moreover, since most research on immigrant entrepreneurship and mixed embeddedness focus on advanced western societies and less reflective of the actualities in developing country contexts, it demonstrates that Nigerian immigrant entrepreneurship in Ghana can be used to understand mixed embeddedness and extend it along the lines of borderlands and transnationalism. From this view, this thesis defines mixed embeddedness as a multi-level concept that aggregate around four domains, namely the entrepreneurs’ own group characteristics as embeddedness, the Ghanaian context of embeddedness, borderland as context for embeddedness, and transnational embeddedness. First, it shows that the entrepreneurs’ group characteristics such as their culturally produced apprenticeship system and high theocentric orientation together with their variegated network categories, serve as embeddedness for their entrepreneurial practices. Secondly, it demonstrates that, the operation of Nigerian immigrant entrepreneurship in Ghana is conditioned on the Ghanaian-specific characteristics. In specific, they are embedded in the Ghanaian urban/inner city, socio-cultural, economic, political, policy, legal and historical contexts. Thirdly, the study shows that the mixed embeddedness of Nigerian immigrant entrepreneurship in Ghana should be linked to Ghana as a borderland context in which the entrepreneurial behaviours and actions of the immigrants are embedded, shaped and underline their borderland entrepreneurial characteristics. Finally, the entrepreneurs maintain embeddedness in a wider transnational context that is rooted in the contextual conditions of the trans-West African sub-regional economic structure and beyond. These findings contribute to knowledge of immigrant entrepreneurship and the mixed embeddedness approach within a non-western empirical frame, and further opens our understanding through incorporating the notions of borderlands and transnationalism as specifications in mixed embeddedness.

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