'Murdering the alphabet' identity and entrepreneurship among second-generation Cubans, West Indians, and Central Americans

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Abstract

On the basis of ethnographic research conducted in 2002 this article explores various dimensions of segmented assimilation. We focus on collective self-definitions, and various forms of self-employment as facets of that process. We introduce the concept of expressive entrepreneurship to identify some of the ways in which immigrant youths attempt to circumvent conventional markets in their pursuit of success and meaning. Their actions are partly the result of generational shifts in aspirations but also a reasonable approach to changes in the economic context. We further distinguish between linear, expressive and criminal entrepreneurship as distinct combinations of cultural ends and institutional means, reaffirming the continuing significance of Robert K. Merton's original formulation of similar relationships in 1938.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1181
Number of pages29
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Assimilation
  • Class
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethnicity
  • Identity
  • Race

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