Refugee entrepreneurship and the limits of inclusion: A study of Syrian refugee entrepreneurs' embeddedness in Turkey

dc.contributor.advisor Tunçalp, Deniz Yetkin, Uğur
dc.contributor.authorID 403172006
dc.contributor.department Management 2023-12-29T12:56:11Z 2023-12-29T12:56:11Z 2022-08-18
dc.description Thesis(Ph.D.) -- Istanbul Technical University, Graduate School, 2022
dc.description.abstract As a subset of immigrant entrepreneurship, the literature on refugee entrepreneurship argues that entrepreneurship has an emancipatory impact on refugee entrepreneurs. It helps people overcome imposed constraints, act more independently, and potentially transform their lives, making social inclusion easier. Furthermore, their context drastically changes when refugees flee to another country, requiring a dynamic embedding process in the new environment. This study critically examines how refugee entrepreneurs become embedded in their home and host countries and experience inclusion and exclusion in the host country. The researcher conducted a comprehensive study on how refugee entrepreneurs experience their entrepreneurial processes concerning their contextual embeddedness and social inclusion and exclusion dynamics in the host country. The study first laid out the theoretical background by clarifying integration, inclusion, exclusion, and immigrant entrepreneurship theories. Then, it described how embeddedness gained currency in immigrant entrepreneurship research. It outlines how the mixed embeddedness model emerged to understand the inherent complexity of immigrant and refugee entrepreneurship. Empirically, the study qualitatively analyzed Syrian refugee entrepreneurs in Turkey. Turkey has become the largest refugee-receiving country globally, hosting more than 4 million refugees, mainly from Syria. These refugees also become highly active in the Turkish business environment. The author interviewed 39 Syrian refugee entrepreneurs working in 14 sectors across seven Turkish cities and four critical informants. A qualitative analysis of these interviews through MAXQDA software identified three types of refugee entrepreneurship based on refugees' contextual embeddedness and entrepreneurial motivation: survival entrepreneurs, ethnic-targeting entrepreneurs, and integrating entrepreneurs. When refugee entrepreneurs become more embedded in a host country, they experience more differential exclusion and inclusion, depending on the type of their refugee entrepreneurship. Therefore, they constantly negotiate their societal position by developing unique strategies against exclusionary actors and structural barriers. The study analyzed the underlying reasons for the differential exclusion with the critical realist lens. Cultural differences and social status are the primary causal structures for exclusionary activities. Naturalization and forced migration act as generative mechanisms, activating the causal powers of these structures. Thus, entrepreneurship helps refugee entrepreneurs advance their economic integration. However, the deep-seated differential exclusion mechanisms limit the potential emancipatory impact of entrepreneurship for different types of refugee entrepreneurs. In addition to the theoretical implications of exclusion and inclusion, the study also uses the embeddedness perspective for understanding refugee entrepreneurship. It describes refugee entrepreneurs' unique social, institutional, political, and spatial embeddedness. Surprisingly, extant literature neglects political embeddedness and informal (cognitive and normative) aspects of institutional embeddedness. Also, the study argues that entrepreneurs in each category gradually develop embeddedness in multiple contexts (social, political, institutional, and spatial) and locations to varying degrees. Furthermore, it explains how refugee entrepreneurs dynamically get disembedded and re-embedded in the home and host countries to regain, sustain and grow their resources. Considering 86% of the refugees settle in developing countries, this study's empirical setting and results contribute to developing the unique refugee entrepreneurship subdomain. The study also provides practical implications regarding refugee entrepreneurs' integration and inclusion strategies. It stresses that labeling refugee entrepreneurs as "good migrants" and seeing them as "an economic opportunity" cause their problems to be pigeonholed and neglected. Furthermore, the "good refugee" discourse makes empty promises and discriminates against refugee entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs realize it is not the case, they feel even more excluded from society. As a result, the author believes this dissertation opens new avenues in inclusion, exclusion, integration, and embeddedness research. Furthermore, the research presents some practical implications that could guide the policy-makers. Ph. D.
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher Graduate School
dc.sdg.type Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
dc.sdg.type Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
dc.subject critical realism
dc.subject eleştirel gerçeklik
dc.subject social integration
dc.subject sosyal bütünleşme
dc.subject social exclusion
dc.subject sosyal dışlanma
dc.subject social inclusion
dc.subject sosyal içerme
dc.subject entrepreneurship
dc.subject girişimcilik
dc.subject refugee entrepreneurs
dc.subject göçmen girişimciliği
dc.title Refugee entrepreneurship and the limits of inclusion: A study of Syrian refugee entrepreneurs' embeddedness in Turkey
dc.title.alternative Mülteci girişimciler ve içermenin sınırları: Türkiye'deki Suriyeli girişimcilerin gömülülükleri üzerine bir çalışma
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
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