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The intersection of class, race, ethnicity, gender and migration : subtitle a case study of Hong Kong… Chiang, Frances Shiu-Ching 2001

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The Intersection of Class, Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Migration: A Case Study of Hong Kong Chinese Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs Richmond, British Columbia by Frances Shiu-Ching Chiang B A . , McGill University, 1976 M A . , M c G i l l University, 1978  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Anthropology and Sociology  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A June, 2001  ©Frances Shiu-Ching Chiang, 2001  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment  of the requirements for an advanced  degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or by his or  her  representatives.  It is understood  that  copying or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  ABSTRACT This dissertation reports on a case study of fifty-eight Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs in Richmond, British Columbia, documenting their experiences during the process of entrepreneurship after immigration. Semi-structured interviews were conducted between the summer of 1996 and January of 1997. Drawing from the literature of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship and the intersectional approach, this dissertation explores the complexity and diversity of entrepreneurial experiences in terms of the intersection of class, race, ethnicity, gender and immigration. It delineates the entrepreneurial project by detailing the process from immigration to business start-up, and to running the business. First, this study documents how these immigrant women's entrepreneurial projects were rooted in history, responding to both the cultural and structural impacts of Confucian patriarchy and paternalism, colonialism, imperialism and capitalism. Secondly, this research outlines, discusses and analyzes their entrepreneurial pursuits by documenting the uneven and diverse impact of racialization, ethnicization, gendering and class-ification. Finally, the study investigates how the social divisions of class, race, ethnicity, gender and migration intersect in different ways, as resources and barriers, to produce and reproduce diverse social relations embedded in entrepreneurship. In general, the study found that these women's entrepreneurial projects were more socially embedded than economically motivated, which suggested the primacy of status over class. The impact of co-ethnic informal networks was also noted to be substantial during every stage of the entrepreneurial project. Particularly noticeable as well was the overall insensitivity to gender barriers among these entrepreneurial women.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  vii  List of Charts  viii  Acknowledgments  ix  Dedication  Chapter One  x  Introduction  1  Greater Vancouver: Changing Faces The City of Pvichmond: Increased Chinese-ization Research Interests Research Agendas Chapter Profiles  Chapter Two  1 9 15 18 20  Theorizing Ethnic Immigrant Women's Entrepreneurship 24  Conceptualizing Entrepreneurs Ethnic/Immigrant Entrepreneurial Scholarship The Literature on Women's Entrepreneurship The Intersectional Perspective Theorizing Canadian Hong Kong Chinese Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs  26 29 43 51 59  Chapter Three  64  Research Methods and Profiles of the Sample  Research Method 65 Research Design 71 The Pretest Experience and the Interview Schedule 74 The Sampling Experience 76 The Contact Experience 81 The Interview Experience 84 The Transcribing and Translating Experience: The Role of Language in Constructing Reality 90 Social and Demographic Profiles of the Sample 94 Profiles of Current Business 103 1. Type of Business 103 2. Segmentation of the Ethnic Economy 105  iii  3. Small Scale of Business 4. Length of Business 5. Nature of Ownership  Chapter Four  111 114 115  Hong Kong Chinese (Women's) Immigration to Canada  117  The Impact of Imperialism and Colonialism on Migration Immigration to Canada: A Historical Overview 1. The 1858-1946 Period of Racism, Sexism and Classism 2. The 1947-1962 Period of Restrictive Family Sponsorship 3. The Post-1962 Relatively Free Immigration Stage Emigration from Hong Kong: A Historical Perspective Migration of Hong Kong Chinese Women Entrepreneurs: Personal Voices 1. The Impact of Canadian Immigration Policy 2. Reasons for Emigration and Immigration i. The Confucian Legacy of Family and Gender Relations ii. The Aspects of Race and Class 3. Immigration Application: The Gender and Class Issue Conclusion  118 121 122 129 131 139 146 147 149 159 165 168 170  Chapter Five  172  Becoming an Entrepreneur  Work History Prior to Immigration Work History after Immigration Motivational Factors: Literature Review Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur 1. Entrepreneurial Spirit and Attitudes 2. Previous Training, Work and Business Experience 3. The Impact of the Family 4. The Friendship Network 5. The Impact of State Policies 6. Market Conditions 7. Work-related Barriers , The Interplay between Structure and Agency Conclusion  Chapter Six  Processes of Business Start-up  Source of Capital Deciding the Type of Ownership Deciding the Type of Business Deciding the Target Market Deciding the Geographical Locale Setting up a Business 1. Becoming Familiarized with the Local Business Environment 2. Learning the Skills of a New Trade 3. Locating the Business Premise  iv  172 178 186 190 192 194 196 202 203 205 207 214 232  234 235 239 242 247 253 257 258 261 264  4. Researching Suppliers of Products and Equipment 5. Applying for Licenses and Permits 6. Decorating the Business Premise Invisibility of Institutional Support ~ Conclusion Doing Business - The Benefits and Limits of Class and Gender The Benefits and Limits of Class 1. Power Structures and Class Relations i. Managing Part-time Help ii. Employee Control 2. Exploiting One's Own Labour and Time 3. Economic Benefits 4. Relationships with Large Suppliers 5. Weighing Class Benefits against Costs The Benefits and Limits of Gender 1. Reproducing Gendered Segregation of Labour 2. Gender Inequality between Partners 3. Gender Barriers: As Mothers and Wives 4. Gender Resources: Creating a Women-specific Ethnic Economy 5. Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Gender  269 273 275 276 279  Chapter Seven  Chapter Eight  282 283 284 285 287 292 296 299 303 307 308 316 320 328 329  Doing Business: The Benefits and Limits of Race/Ethnicity And Age 333  The Benefits and Limits of Race/Ethnicity 1. Ethnic Networks as Resources i. The Insignificance of Ethnic Associations ii. The Role of Chinese Media iii. Informal Co-ethnic Networks iiia. Personalized Co-ethnic Client Relationships iiib. Personalized Co-ethnic Recruitment Networks iiic. Co-ethnic Business Support Networks iiid. Co-ethnic Family and K i n Labour 2. The "De-ethnicizing" Strategy 3. Inter-racial Conflicts 4. Intra-ethnic Conflicts 5. Weighing the Benefits against the Costs of Race and Ethnicity The Impact of Age: A Forgotten Phenomenon Conclusion: The Intersection of Class, Gender, Race/Ethmcity, and Age  333 334 334 338 340 340 343 345 350 353 358 361 363 367 371  Chapter Nine  375  Retrospect and Prospect  Summarizing the Research Findings Re-assessing the Intersectional Perspective  375 383  Re-assessing the Research Method Connecting Transnational Networks and Institutional Completeness Policy Implication A Final Note  385 387 388 390  Bibliography  392  Appendix A  Richmond's Ethnic Business Areas  408  Appendix B  Interview Questions  413  Appendix C  Feature story, Interviewee Recruitment Advertisements and Notice  429  Appendix D  Interviewee Referral Networks  435  Appendix E  Interviewee Invitation Letter and Consent Form  441  Appendix F  A Glossary of Romanized Cantonese Terms  446  vi  LIST OF TABLES Table 3.1  Type of Business and Location in Richmond  104  Table 3.2  Segmentation of the Ethnic Economy  106  Table 4.1  Chinese Immigration to Canada  126  Table 4.2  Reasons for Leaving Hong Kong  153  Table 4.3  Reasons for Choosing Canada as the Country of Destination  155  Table 4.4  Reasons for Choosing Vancouver as the Place of Destination  159  Table 5.1  Work History Prior to Emigration to Canada  174  Table 5.2  Work History in Canada  181  Table 5.3  Major Motivational factors for Starting Current Businesss  191  vii  LIST OF CHARTS Chart 3.1  Age Distribution of Subjects  96  Chart 3.2  Education Level of Subjects  97  Chart 3.3  Nature of Husbands'Employment  101  Chart 3.4  Number of Children by Age  102  Chart 3.5  Size of Immediate Family and Maternal Family  102  Chart 3.6  Length of Business  114  Chart 3.7  Business Ownership by Marital Status  115  Chart 4.1  Period of Immigration and Immigration Class for Hong Kong Chinese Women Entrepreneurs  150  viii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to Prof. Gillian Creese, my dissertation advisor, for her academic support and supervision of this research as well as her invaluable advice, guidance and encouragement, whose help has been enormous especially during the tough times of my life. M y special thanks also go to Prof. Brian Elliot for his critical comments and constructive criticisms particularly on various aspects of entrepreneurship and Prof. Tissa Fernando for his valuable advice on issues pertaining to race/ethnicity. Appreciation is expressed as well to Prof. Graham Johnson and Prof. Diana Lary who provided comments and suggestions that facilitated the final revisions. Many thanks go to the women entrepreneurs who contributed their precious time and valuable work and life experiences to this research. I have learned a great deal from their individual work experiences and life stories. I am especially indebted to many interviewees, my friends and relatives for their enthusiastic support in referring entrepreneurs to participate in the interviews, without which this work would not have been possible. M y thanks also go to Lynne McGivern for her editorial advice. I would like to recognize, last but not least, the support of my family especially my daughter, Heather, who accommodated me with my busy schedules and has been loving and caring during this long process of research and writing.  ix  DEDICATION  This dissertation is lovingly and respectfully dedicated memory of my mother, an immigrant woman entrepreneur, whose entrepreneurial spirits and hard work inspired me to pursue this research. Regrettably, she did not live to see this dissertation.  Chapter One Introduction  Greater Vancouver: Changing Faces As a settler society, Canada, from its inception as a nation, has been continuously defined and redefined by immigration. The role of immigration has always been important in shaping the demographic composition of Canadian society, which simultaneously has affected and is reflected by its social, cultural, economic and political milieus. Since the post-war years, Canadian society has undergone major demographic transformation. From a predominantly white society with European roots, its population in recent years, particularly in major metropolitan areas such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, has become increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-racial. The reasons behind such changes are complex. This is partly due to declining immigration from European countries after the War, and partly to the lifting of overt discrimination against immigrants from non-European sources in favour of meeting economic demands of skilled labour and capital investment in order to stay competitive in the global market. Immigration selection has opened up since 1967 with the introduction of a universal points system based on humanitarian grounds and economic demands, doing away with over a century's preference for the British and other Western Europeans. As a result, the demographic picture of Greater Vancouver, one of the top choices of immigrant destination, has become increasingly diverse. During the past two decades and so, it has attracted immigrants from East, Southeast, and South Asia as well as people from non-traditional sources such as the Middle East and Latin America (Hiebert, 1998).  1  The growth of immigrants from Asia, notably from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and India was particularly tremendous as a result of the recent economic boom in the region. For example, between 1967 and 1986, while the British were still the largest place-of-birth group, the three next largest birthplace groups were from China, India and Hong Kong, and seven of the top ten sources countries were Asian (Hiebert, 1998:10-11). In essence, the proportion of Asian population grew from 2.4 percent in 1951 to 5.4 percent in 1971, and further to 18 percent in 1986 (Hiebert, 1998). Between 1986 and 1996, Vancouver has attracted the highest proportion of Asian immigrants, and immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China made up as many as 44.6 percent of total immigrants to British Columbia (Statistics Canada, 1996). Among all Asian arrivals since 1967, the growth of Chinese population is particularly striking. By 1996, Chinese constitute close to half (49.4 percent) of the entire visible minority population in metropolitan Vancouver where the Chinese language ranked the top non-official language (11 percent) spoken at home (Statistics Canada, 1996). The arrival of Hong Kong Chinese is even more noteworthy. Its ranking as a source country to Canada went from tenth place in 1971 to fourth place in 1981 to first place in 1987 (Johnson and Lary, 1994:94), and remained so in the following decade. Hence, most of those who immigrated from Hong Kong in the post-war years are relatively recent arrivals: "over 60% of those living in Canada at the time of 1991 census arrived in the 1980s, while another 28% came between 1971 and 1980. In contrast, 8% came in the 1960s and only 1% arrived before 1961" (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 1996). The fear of economic and political instabilities when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese communist sovereignty had instigated a massive outflow of Hong  2  Kong people (Li, 1998; Costa and Renaud, 1995). B y 1996 Hong Kong had replaced the United Kingdom as the single most important place of birth among immigrants living in Vancouver (Hiebert, 1998). Not only are recent immigrants diverse in terms of ethnicity and race, they are also becoming increasingly heterogeneous with respect to socio-economic status. There is no longer the "typical immigrant" (Hiebert, 1998) who came from the lower rungs of society to work as cheap labour to improve their economic position, probably with a sojourning mentality hoping to cash in and leave for good in a matter of time. Now, as a result of diverse immigration programs, with immigrants coming through different channels, as investors, entrepreneurs, skilled and educated labour, family sponsorship, relative assistance and refugees, we find marked socio-economic differences rather than uniformity (Hiebert, 1998). Such complexity was noted, for example, among Hong Kong born immigrants: "... of the 29,300 immigrants from Hong Kong who landed in Canada in 1990, 12,800 were in the independent class and therefore were assessed according to their level of education, work experience, and so on; 1,600 retirees; 20 were refugees; 8,100 were part of the family reunification program; and 6,800 were either principal applicants in the business classes or their dependents" (Hiebert, 1998) These immigrants are as diverse in education as they are in terms of economic participation. According to a report on the profile of immigrants from Hong Kong (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 1997) based on the 1991 statistics, Hong Kong Chinese varied in terms of education, employment, self-employment, occupational distribution and income. While 28 percent of Hong Kong immigrants had a university degree, 6 percent had less than a grade nine education. Eighty-five percent of Hong  3  Kong men aged 25-64 and 69 percent of women in this age range were employed, out of which 15 percent of the men and 7 percent of the women were self-employed. While 49 percent of the men worked in professional or managerial fields, only 33 percent of the women worked in professional fields. Over half, 58 percent, of the women worked in clerical, sales or service positions. With respect to income, even though many made more or less the same income as an average Canadian, as many as 25 percent had incomes below Statistics Canada Low-income Cut-offs as compared with the Canadianborn (15 percent). There is also a remarkable variation between men and women. Hong Kong Chinese men on the average made 50 percent more than their female counterparts. Overall, the ethnic-cultural transformation of Vancouver's demographics resulted in sweeping changes in many different ways. Economically, Vancouver has benefited from the flow of capital as a result of the Canadian business immigration program, that is, capital-linked migration (Wong, 1997), which makes capital-intensive investment to fulfill their immigration criteria (Li, 1993). For example, between 1987 and 1990, 1,511 entrepreneurial immigrants from Hong Kong brought in a net worth of $1.9 billion to British Columbia, and those who came under the investor program invested $343 million or 46 percent of the total funds by all investors in Canada (Li, 1993:235). Offshore investments from Asian countries have also become significant. As reported by L i (1993), with respect to Canada as a whole, while foreign investments between 1983 and 1990 from all Pacific Rim countries quadrupled and from Japan tripled, those from Hong Kong alone increased nine times. Major Asian capital investments to Vancouver, according to L i (1993), include the following: $320 million on the expo 86 site and control over its development by a Hong Kong multi-billionaire's  4  corporation, a Japanese-based multinational corporation's development of a twentyseven-thousand-square-foot supermarket and an eighty-one store mall in Richmond, and a Taiwan corporation's joint-venture with a Vancouver based company in building a hotel and shopping mall complex. Others include a Hong Kong capitalist who owns the Burrard building and the Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, a Hong Kong movie tycoon who owns land holdings at the entrance of Stanley Park and 30 percent interest in the Cathedral Place of Vancouver, a Macau casino owner and financier who owns le Meridien Hotel of Vancouver, a Vancouver based Hong Kong corporation who owns the English Bay Village, the Aberdeen Centre and Parker Place in Richmond, and controls two television stations and a radio station. Asian investors in total also control as much as 25 percent of the five hundred commercial properties in Vancouver's West End alone. High profile Hong Kong companies also established subsidiaries here, such as H S B C and Jardine Matheson Canada Limited. Ironically, massive off-shore investments from these Pacific Rim societies did not benefit much local ethnic labour or the ethnic economy. Underemployment and unemployment of immigrants from these places were notable (Hiebert, et.al., 1998) as selected immigrants complained about "no experience, no job" and made comments about the lack of economic opportunities like "Hong Kong for money, Vancouver for quality of life" (Hiebert, et.al., 1998). Geographically speaking, recent immigrants have changed the ethno-cultural profile of urban and suburban neighbourhoods. According to Hiebert (1998), while traditionally, immigrants chose to reside in the City of Vancouver, many extended their residence beyond the city core to neighbouring suburban areas such as Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, the North shore and the Tri-cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port  5  Moody). Interestingly, most did not choose to live in municipalities further away from the city centre, which are predominantly occupied by Caucasians. A twin pattern has occurred in terms of their settlement. While on the one hand there is increasing suburbanization, that is, moving away from the city core, on the other hand, many ethnocultural groups remain highly concentrated . 1  The increase in Asian immigrants is also reflected in the changing political scene. As Asian participation becomes increasingly visible, we find Indo-Canadian and Chinese politicians representing all levels of government . In fact, the representation is so spread out that in the 1997 federal election there were Chinese-Canadian candidates representing all four political parties in the Kingsway riding of City of Vancouver (Hiebert, 1998). Currently, British Columbia's premier is from a minority background, which is unprecedented in Canadian history . 3  Even though the political scene looks encouraging, socially, British Columbians received such dramatic changes with mixed messages. For example, a poll done in 1997  'According to Hiebert (1998), while immigrants tend to move to suburban areas close to the City of Vancouver, their residential patterns are pretty much concentrated. For example, Chinese are more likely to concentrate in the Vancouver eastside, Shaughnessy and Southlands of the Vancouver westside, Western Richmond, the British properties in Western Vancouver, the Westwood Plateau in Coquiflam, and throughout Burnaby avoiding North Vancouver, Delta, most of Surrey, and the Eastern suburbs. IndoCanadians, on the contrary, settled in east Richmond, the border zone between New Westminster and Richmond, NorthWest Surrey/Northeast Delta, and western Surrey. Among these politicians, some notable ones include the following. David Lam, a Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong, was nominated as the first lieutenant-governor of British Columbia. Vancouver MP Herb Dhaliwal became the first-ever Indo-Canadian federal cabinet minister in 1997 for the Liberal government. Raymond Chan, a Hong Kong Chinese immigrant, was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993, is currently Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) for the second term. He represents the Richmond riding. Sophia Leung, who is also an immigrant from Hong Kong, is currently MP representing the Vancouver Kingsway riding. Jenny Kwan is the first Hong Kong Chinese immigrant woman elected to provincial legislature for the NDP government after working as a community activist and as a City Councilor for some time. She is currently Minister of Community Development, Cooperation and Volunteers. At the municipal level, Don Lee and Daniel Lee, also immigrants from Hong Kong, are currently Council members for the City of Vancouver. Ujjal Dosanjh, an immigrant himself, who used to be the Minister responsible for Multiculturalism and later the Attorney-General, became the Premier of British Columbia after former premier Glen Clark was forced to step down as a result of a casino scandal. 2  3  6  by the Vancouver Sun and CBC TV's Broadcast One found that while 49 percent of the G V R D [Greater Vancouver Regional Districts] residents thought that they were more tolerant of different races and cultures over the past ten years, 45 percent said that they were less tolerant or remained the same (The Vancouver Sun, 1997b). While people may, on the one hand, praise the multicultural images Vancouver has established, they dread and at the same time are threatened by the visible presence of the Asian immigrant population and their cultural inadaptability. Issues over monster houses, tree-cutting, skyrocketing real estate prices, non-English commercial signage, English as a Second Language (ESL) funding, satellite kids, overachieving kids, astronaut families, gangs and organized crime, violence and militancy, R C M P uniforms and the helmet by-law for cyclist are among the many that have been racialized and overblown by media attention . 4  In general, negative public sentiments and attitudes toward new immigrants have transformed into a different nature, especially for the Chinese. "In the past, ethnic conflict was connected to competition for working-class jobs. Now the tension is more about real estate deals, university admissions and the esthetics of houses and landscapes.... Time was when host residents grumbled about poor immigrants who wouldn't adapt to western consumerist lifestyles and were eroding the education system. Now they grouse about a new generation of immigrants who, with their luxury cars, offshore investments and honour-roll kids, have adapted too well." (The Vancouver Sun, 1997d:B4c, Italics mine)  More specifically, Chinese immigrants were blamed for skyrocketing real estate prices, building huge houses commonly known as monster homes, cutting trees in their own property, creating problematic satellite kids by leaving them alone in Vancouver while both parents return to their home country for better economic pursuits, unwillingness to plant roots in Canada by establishing astronaut families with a parent, usually the father leaving, exploiting Canadian benefits such as the school, university and medical systems, draining Canadian resources for ESL program, creating youth gangs, self-segregation, speaking Cantonese and Mandarin in public, driving expensive cars, flaunting their wealth, etc. Indo-Canadian immigrants are blamed for their militancy over religious and their back home political affairs, wife-beating, gang behaviour and organized crime, activism in maintaining the Sikh's turban in RCMP uniform and helmet bylaw for cyclists, etc. Vietnamese and Iranian immigrants are blamed for gang behaviour and organized crime. 4  7  The expression of anti-sentiments has also become more subtle such that it has become extremely difficult to detect and analyze (Rose, 1999). For example, the relative homogeneity of the suburbs further to the city centre implies the possibility of "White  5  flight" of White residents moving away from these suburbs . Many of these people do 6  not openly admit this to be racist or anti-immigration, citing "too many people" (The Vancouver Sun, 1997d) and problems associated with urban and population growth (Hiebert, 1998) as factors. Increased immigration also changes the faces of ethnic communities. For example, the Chinese community has moved beyond the old Chinatown in the City of Vancouver to different areas and its neighbouring cities. They are no longer confined to the Strathcona area next to Chinatown. As a result of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, Chinese now take up different spaces, from the modest Strathcona area and East Vancouver to upscale Vancouver Westside and West Vancouver (Hiebert, 1998). Businesses established by Chinese immigrants and residents have burgeoned and moved beyond Chinatown and penetrated into different districts and areas to meet the demand of the increased population . While the traditional huiguan normally located in Chinatown still maintain some significance, newcomers who are more diverse and modernized, tend to form and join organizations based on the Western models (Wickberg, 1994).  Adopted from Anderson and Collins (1995), the term white is capitalized when it is referred to a properly named group. However, we should recognize that just as there is no uniform experiences among minorities or women of colour, the Whites are not a universal group but refer only to a particular group experience. The notion of "White flight" was popularized through media portrayal. Very little was known about it except a recent study by Rose (1999) who briefly took note of some form of mobility similar to this. More will be discussed in the next section. According to Wickberg (1994) Huiguan are home-district associations and "same-surname" or "clan" associations based in Chinatown that have historically provided services to Chinese migrants and residents. These services include business relations and networking, financial help for emergencies, maintaining 5  6  7  8  8  Associations such as evangelical Protestant churches have become key adaptive organizations for new immigrants; social service organizations such as SUCCESS are also formed catering mostly to middle-class immigrants and residents (Wickberg, 1994). Other associations such as school alumni associations and social clubs are formed for business and other kinds of social networking (Wickberg, 1994). A l l of these organizations are now spread out into different geographical locations to serve the needs of a dispersed Chinese population. New immigrants remain exclusive in character. Persisting racism continues to draw large ethnocultural groups, especially those with limited command of language, to a network of co-ethnic friends and relatives who define a culture of significant others (Hiebert, et.al., 1998:28). Few new immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong, for example, include White Canadians among their good friends (Hiebert, et.al., 1998:28). Lack of opportunities in employment have intensified infra-ethnic networks and in-group systems of employment that fed the growth of ethnic enclave economies and in turn, socio-economic fragmentation (Hiebert, et.al., 1998:26).  The City of Richmond: Increased Chinese-ization Richmond, one of the suburbs south of the City of Vancouver, which used to be a farming and fishing community very much rural in character (Rose, 1999; City of Richmond, 1993), experienced dramatic urbanization only in the past two decades, and became a city in 1990 (City of Richmond, 1993). Its population and urban growth coincided with increased immigration when the city attracted immigrants from different ethnic backgrounds, and has become one of the most multicultural areas of greater  Chinese schools to educate the younger generation, housing and employment assistance, provision of social support and protection, etc.  9  Vancouver (Hiebert, et.al., 1998). While in 1971, over 87 percent of Richmond residents reported European origin, by 1991, over 40 percent of its population was born outside of Canada with approximately one-sixth who claimed Chinese ethnic origin (Hiebert, et.al., 1998). While the Chinese population constituted less than one per cent of the entire Richmond population prior to 1981 (Li, 1998:114), it has increased to 7 percent in 1981 and 16.5 percent in 1991(City of Richmond, 1997). By 1996, Chinese constitutes 33% of the entire Richmond population as the largest group of visible minorities (City of Richmond, 2000b). As a result of the massive presence of Chinese in Richmond, Chinese businesses have burgeoned in the past two decades. These businesses have broadened from the traditional restaurant and food-related businesses to include a variety of retail and wholesale firms and professional services (Li, 1992). According to the statistics compiled by L i (1992), between 1981 and 1990, Chinese firms in Richmond have almost tripled. Based on a rough count from the Chinese Buyer's Guide, 1996, the total number of Chinese business establishments in Richmond was 785 , approximately 4.3 times more 9  than the Chinese owned firms in 1990 and 11.5 times more than the figure provided by L i  Business telephone directories compiled by the Chinese community seem to be the only available sources on Chinese businesses. While the City of Richmond keeps annual record of business licence, such record does not provide a reliable source of ethnic businesses due to the fact that the ethnic background of business owners is not recorded. During the time of my research, that is, between 1996 and 1997, there were at least three different telephone directories compiled for the Chinese community. The other two were called 738 Directory Services and Chinese Phone Book and Business Guide. These directories are bilingual and include both Chinese-owned and non-Chinese owned businesses in British Columbia that targeted the Chinese market. It is important to take note of the lack of validity of the figure produced. Since it was not possible to determine which businesses were Chinese-owned and which ones were not, I had to make an assumption that businesses with bilingual names or Chinese names only were Chineseowned; and those with English name to be non-Chinese owned. There were exceptions, however. It was just obvious to identify large national and international corporations such as banks, airlines and insurance companies as non-Chinese owned even when they use Chinese names to attract Chinese clientele. 9  10  (1992) for 1981 . While the two sources are not directly comparable and the figures are 10  rough, this nonetheless reflects the magnitude of growth in Chinese businesses since 1981, and even more so after 1990. Not only did Chinese businesses grow in number, they also grew in form and variety. As the Chinese Buyer's Guide, 1996 reflects, Chinese owned organizations and businesses expanded to include many industry and service sectors in regards to production industries and trades, retail and wholesale businesses, personal, social and professional services that had never taken hold before. These new businesses also take on a style that is quite different from their traditional counterparts. As a result of the substantial presence of immigrants from Hong Kong, these businesses have taken on a Hong Kong character, which has become increasingly multicultural and cosmopolitan in practice and worldviews, to meet their tastes (Lee and Tse, 1994). The culinary inventory, for example, enriched by Hong Kong immigration would include noodle shops selling a variety of Chinese "fast food", Hong Kong style "hot-pot" restaurants (Johnson, 1994), Hong Kong style coffee and tea (Lee and Tse, 1994), etc. There are stores that sell Chinese-language laser discs for karaoke, videos produced in Hong Kong, Hong Kong books, magazines and newspapers, etc. (Johnson, 1994) in addition to traditional Chinese herbal medicine, arts and crafts. Professional services have also expanded remarkably (Li, 1993). New services other than the traditional medical, dental, legal and accounting services that cater to the needs of Hong Kong Chinese mushroomed, for example, driving schools, financial and investment consultants (Lee and Tse, 1994), etc. Furthermore, there are three radio stations ( A M 1320, AM1470, FM96.1), a Chinese T V  It should be noted that these figures are not directly comparable because of the lack of validity and the difference in sources. While my count was based on the Chinese Buyer's Guide, 1996, Li's count was 10  11  station (Fairchild), and two major daily newspapers (Ming Pao Daily and Sing Tao 11  Daily) with heavy Hong Kong content. Specificallt for T V and radio stations, 12  Cantonese is used primarily as the medium serving the Hong Kong Chinese immigrants. Many of these new businesses also adopt modern and middle-class images when catering to the increasingly affluent and more sophisticated Chinese not only residing in Richmond and but also in its neighbouring cities, particularly those who live in the upscale neighbourhood of Vancouver west side and the "upper middle-class Chinese from South Vancouver" (Lai, 1988:164). Modern style supermarkets carrying highquality Chinese food, Hong Kong-manufactured crackers and biscuits, and frozen dim sum (Johnson, 1994) were developed along with the traditional grocery and food stores while large and luxurious Chinese restaurants replaced the small family-operated food retailing outlets (Johnson, 1994; L i , 1998). In addition, the mushrooming of businesses that target the affluent Hong Kong Chinese women, a group with significant presence and strong buying power, is also unprecedented. These businesses either target single young women or women as housewives and mothers, would include beauty salons, beauty schools, boutiques, cosmetics retail, gift shops, children's wear, tutorial schools, etc. Another major development in Richmond since 1990 is the establishment of modernized Chinese malls and Asian theme malls which reflects the recent inflow of 13  large capital investment by ethnic Chinese to Canada (Li, 1993; L i , 1998). Aberdeen  based on the 1990 Vancouver and B.C. Mainland Telephone Directory. Another TV station known as TalentTV held also by Fairchild Holdings, which used to be Cantonesebased is now changed to Mandarin spoken as a result of the recent growth of Chinese immigrants from Taiwan and China. According to a study done by ACNielsen*DJC Research on the Vancouver Chinese media index for 1998, Ming Pao and Sing Tao split quite evenly in Chinese readership, 46 percent and 45.7 percent respectively. Another Chinese newspaper that has substantial readership is the World Journal, at 22.2 percent, which targets Taiwanese Chinese. A collection of photographs on these malls is placed in Appendix A. 11  12  13  12  Centre, opened in 1990, was the first large Chinese mall in downtown Richmond. It stands on 120,000 square feet of commercial space housing 60 shops and one cinema, and was developed by a Hong Kong based capitalist enterprise with a subsidiary in Vancouver (Li, 1993, 1998). The success of Aberdeen Centre prompted the development of more Chinese malls and Asian theme malls in the area. In 1993, three new malls were opened nearby, the Parker Place, President Plaza and Yaohan Centre that housed 140, 53 and 80 shops respectively (Ming Pao Daily, 1997). By 1998, seven more malls were built and scheduled for opening in the same district, which has since renamed "Aberdeen" (Ming Pao Daily, 1997). By 2000, Chinese businesses have covered many blocks and complexes of the commercial areas in downtown Richmond, and Chinese malls have developed beyond the Aberdeen vicinity. The magnitude of these commercial developments built specifically for the Chinese ethnic market has constructed a fixed image of the growing "Chinese" character of Richmond (Hiebert, et.al., 1998). Such a fixed image has prompted responses from the mainstream economy. Supermarkets such as Safeway set up special Asian sections, and department stores display Asian models in their promotion pamphlets (Lee and Tse, 1994). Financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, automobile retails, immigration legal services, etc. make use of Chinese media to advertise their services and products to the Chinese market . 14  Many hire ethnic help catering to serving Chinese consumers, and provide  Chinese language assistance to those who are not proficient in English. Many  Li and Li (1999) studied advertisements in a Chinese daily newspaper in Toronto, and found that even though Chinese ethnic businesses placed 69 percent of the advertisements, non-Chinese firms, which are normally bigger, account for 45 percent of the advertising spending.  13  mainstream corporations such as banks with branches established in Richmond adopted names in order to attract Chinese customers  15  .  The dramatic "Chinese-ization" of Richmond contributes to the increasing institutional completeness of the Chinese community, not only in degree but also in 16  form. The ethnic economy as a result expanded in breadth and in size, as well as became increasingly Hong Kong and middle-class in style. Such a growth, both in terms of population and economy, has painted a rosy picture of the Chinese community through the mainstream lens. Popular perceptions credit this to a more tolerant, accepting and racially equal Canada, with the removal of legal barriers, in enabling Chinese immigrants to become an "over-achieving" minority (Li, 1998:154). More specifically, Chinese businesses in Richmond have widely been generalized by the public to have achieved success not only in the establishment of a strong ethnic enclave but also in taking a strong hold in the Richmond economy (Li, 1998). Yet a recent study on long time residents' reaction to the massive demographic change in Richmond shows signs of the existence of anti-immigrant racist sentiments , relating them to the changing the physical appearance 17  of the city in terms of monster homes, tree-cutting, heavy traffic, loss of rural character, and being discontent with their self-segregation and establishing self-contained Asian [Chinese] malls that exclude White Canadians (Rose, 1999).  See also photographs inserted in the Appendix A. Institutional completeness is a concept first put forward by Breton in 1964. It refers, in a perfect sense, to ethnic communities that have developed formal structures and social organizations catering to the needs of their members to the extent of self-sufficiency, serving a variety of functions that incorporate educational, religious, political, recreational, professional, media and commercial activities. Even though Rose (1999) suggested that both racist and anti-racist attitudes co-existed due to the complexity of resident responses on immigrant reception, and the difficulty to detect whether the respondents used anti-urbanization as a metaphor for racism, my reading of his findings led me believe that 15  16  17  14  Research Interests In the previous sections, I presented and demonstrated the magnitude of growth and change that occurred in Greater Vancouver in general and Richmond in particular, and the general reactions to such changes. The dramatic changes in recent years in Richmond particularly caught my attention. As ethnic businesses burgeoned, expanded and penetrated into every business district in the city, it becomes essential to explore this newly developed ethnic economy and its relation to the mainstream economy and market. Hence, I decided to conduct a case study on Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in Richmond. I was curious to find out, for example, what drew them to start businesses there instead of in the well established Chinese communities in the City of Vancouver, for example, Chinatown. M y personal experiences and background, in addition, prompted me to focus on a particular group of Chinese entrepreneurs: the immigrant women from Hong Kong. As a Hong Kong Chinese immigrant woman myself, I feel a strong connection to other Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women in their struggles for survival and adaptation after immigration. Joining the slow exodus of Hong Kong emigration that began in the mid1980s as a result of the political uncertainty of Hong Kong when reverting to Chinese sovereignty in 1997,1 settled in Vancouver, witnessing the dramatic increase in Chinese immigration since then. More significantly, I witnessed the development and proliferation of the Chinese ethnic economy in Richmond, which has transformed not only its ethno-cultural, social and economic characters but also the every-day livelihood of Chinese immigrants in its neighbouring Vancouver. As a regular consumer in  White racism is indeed substantial. However, I do agree with him on the problem of essentializing racism to whiteness.  15  Richmond, despite the fact that I do not live there, I have dealt with many women business owner-operators, and have watched the growth of women-specific businesses. It seems to me that women's contributions need to be addressed, explored and understood. As the daughter of a woman entrepreneur with a small family business I grew up with the business, struggling with my parents in their ups and downs, while at the same time enjoying the privileges they brought to the family. I spent my childhood and adolescent years mostly in the store as a result of my mother's lack of option but to sacrifice her family to accommodate business needs in return for financial gain. I observed both my mother working over twelve hours every day of the year as the nature of the business required daily operation, and the cooperation and conflict she had with my father on business matters. I witnessed how my mother, on the one hand, had to work harder than both her employees and my father yet on the other hand, exercised authority over the former but struggled for power with the latter. As the daughter of the owners who helped out after school, I remember how I became friends to many of these employees yet at the same time could not be their real friends because they were wary of my status as the daughter of the owners. M y own experiences made me realize the complexity and contradiction of entrepreneurial positions and the emerging social relations involved. More so, I realized the advantages my mother had as a woman, and the barriers she had to overcome in generating business success. Apart from my individual interests, I was inspired by the literature on women entrepreneurship in critically assessing the androcentric bias of entrepreneurial research. Campbell (1994), for example, calls for an innovative approach that should be culturally sensitive to women entrepreneurs. Women, she believes, who are socialized to be  16  culturally different from men, when become entrepreneurs will develop a definition, understanding and interpretation on work, money, job satisfaction and success different from the traditional androcentric economic perspectives. History, in addition, also accounts for much of the ethnic and male/female differences. Taking together then, studies on women entrepreneurs need to recognize historical and cultural contexts. Following Campbell's words, I agree as well that "the process of female entrepreneurship will be better understood i f studied separately and intensively" (Campbell, 1994:13). More importantly, in my academic training, I am fascinated by feminist scholarship on gender, race and class. I was informed of the importance in recognizing diversity and difference, and how complex experiences are shaped unevenly by history and structures. But a review of the literature points to scant studies of ethnic minority immigrant women in business. Even though much has been studied and written on minority women and work, with the focus on the much underprivileged and oppressed racial/ethnic minority women workers , middle-class minority women working as professionals, managers or entrepreneurs seldom receive attention from feminists in general or anti-racist feminists in particular. Despite of the fact that some women-ofcolour feminists theoretically recognize diversity and difference among women resulting from the overarching structures of race, class and gender, such theoretical insights have not been transformed into practical research. Seeing businesswomen as accepting and promoting the [male] capitalist ideologies of individualism, achievement and materialism, and generalizing them as privileged, powerful and elitist, feminist scholars have turned a blind eye on these women and render them deviant not worthy of  17  consideration. The relative lack of interest in these women in academic research has contributed to a huge gap in women's studies. In addition, Chinese women as a group in Canada have long suffered from invisibility in academic research and misrepresentation in society . Research on Chinese 19  women in business is virtually non-existent. Instead of being treated as a separate group, Chinese women entrepreneurs are likely to be hidden under the general heading of Chinese entrepreneurship (Li, 1992; Li,1993; L i , 1998; Marger and Hoffman, 1992; Chan, 1992; Uneke, 1996; Wong and Ng, 1998) or Asian businesses (Bates, 1994; Froschauer, 1998). To fill this gap, my intention was to bring this ignored group of women to the centre of my analysis, taking advantage of our shared history, culture and language to explore their identities, positions and social relations within the realm of work. Most important of all, I would like to demonstrate that the power and privileges these women possess are situational, dynamic and fractured relative to their economic position, race, ethnicity and gender, as well as immigrant status. It is my hope to document how their identities, positions and relations are contradictory, experiencing both privileges and disadvantages, and domination and subordination.  Research Agendas Entrepreneurial pursuits and related economic life, when taking a sociological perspective, involve more than rational economic decision-making processes. Economic  See, for example, from the Canadian context work done by Gabriel (1999) on minority women workers in general, Das Gupta (1996) on garment workers and nurses, Bakan and Stasiulus (1997) on foreign domestic workers, Duffy and Pupo (1992) on part-time workers, etc. The historiography of Chinese women in Canada was not adequately covered. Historically, their images were constructed either as exotic and sexual when related to early prostitutes and tearoom waitresses, as passive and uneducated when referred to slave girls and domestic workers, or as hardworking family workers helping out family businesses (Li, 1998; Adilmanl992). All other categories were virtually nonexistent and invisible. The contribution of these women and their activism was only recently been documented (see Chinese Canadian National Council, 1992). 18  19  18  action rather is embedded in social structures and networks (Granovetter, 1985). Such social embeddedness is expressed in the development and the use of social capital, which is more pronounced in ethnic and immigrant communities (Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993; Waldinger, 1995). Recognizing that entrepreneurialism goes beyond economic and business relations, I attempted to explore Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women's entrepreneurial projects highlighting the social significance of economic actions, bringing into consideration factors such as class, race, ethnicity, gender and migration. M y research agendas are two-folded. First, I would like to find out why these women chose entrepreneurship as their career after immigration. As their entrepreneurial projects may be related to the historical specificity of their immigration experience, the cultural and structural specificities of both sending and receiving societies, an account of the history of Chinese immigration from Hong Kong to Canada will also be explored. Second, I wanted to examine the diverse, contradictory relations they put themselves in as Hong Kong Chinese, immigrants, women, and business owner-operators. Recognizing them as active agents in producing and reproducing social relations based on race, ethnicity, gender and class, I brought their stories to the centre of analysis. I do this by closely delineating the processes of business establishment and operation, for example, why they chose Richmond as the location, the processes of how they started their businesses, and how they constructed and managed different social relations while running their businesses. In order to provide a comprehensive understanding of these women and their experiences, I will draw on a number of theoretical perspectives about entrepreneurship  19  and feminism, bringing together social, cultural and institutional explanations and moving between considerations of structure and agency. As immigrants from one colonized society to another, that is,fromHong Kong to Canada, and responding to structural forces of British colonialism, imperialism, Confucian patriarchy, and capitalism, these women took an active role in their entrepreneurial pursuits by reproducing contradictory positions and relations after immigration through racialization, ethnicization, gendering and class-ification . Most important of all, I wanted to 20  demonstrate that they are not passive pawns, but active agents in defining who they are and what kind of life they should live. As Hiebert (1998,1999) suggested, "immigrants ... do not just fit in to what is already there; they participate in the process of defining what is here" (31).  Chapter Profiles The organization of the dissertation is as follows. Chapter two covers the conceptual and theoreticalframeworks.First I will review existing literature on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. As these approaches fall short in different ways for explaining ethnic/immigrant women in business, I then present a feminist approach, the intersectional theories, which I consider more applicable to explain the diversity and contradictions of minority immigrant women entrepreneurs. Finally, I put forward my own theoreticalframework,integrating the intersectional perspective with concepts and theories used in ethnic/immigrant and women entrepreneur scholarship.  Racialization is the process of producing and reproducing boundaries between "us" and "them" using both physical and cultural signifiers (see for example, Miles, 1989). Ethnicization, likewise, involves the use of cultural signifiers only. The process of gendering involves segmentation between male and female traits. Class-ification refers to the construction of class boundaries based on economic criteria. In this 2 0  20  Chapter three reviews research methodology and presents an overview o f the characteristics o f m y sample. I w i l l explain how m y research is based on feminist scholarship, drawing from qualitative methodology. Beyond presenting m y research design, I w i l l carefully delineate the journey that I went through i n conducting this research, and m y reflections on it. I w i l l draw on issues that have been overlooked i n the past, and raise concerns for future research i n this area. Then I w i l l present some statistical profiles o f the entrepreneurial women under study. Other than their social and demographic background characteristics such as age, education, marital status, family size, husband's employment status, family background, etc., I w i l l also provide a general descriptive overview o f their business profiles. Chapter four involves an analysis o f H o n g K o n g Chinese immigration to Canada. I w i l l first discuss the impact o f imperialism and colonialism i n shaping migration. Then I w i l l present a historical account o f how structural aspects o f both H o n g K o n g and Canada facilitated migration, and how these aspects intersected w i t h class, race and gender at different points in history. The second part examines the personal voices o f the women o f this study about their migration processes. It also accounts for, in great depth, the reasons why these women decided to leave H o n g K o n g and chose to come to Canada. Again, cultural and structural impacts are examined together with the intersection o f class, race and gender on the immigration decision and processes. Chapter five begins the journey o f the entrepreneurial venture. Since the work history o f these women may have important bearing on their entrepreneurial pursuit, I w i l l first go over their work experiences before and after immigration. Then I w i l l  study, class relations i n v o l v e s either relations b e t w e e n m i d d l e - c l a s s a n d lower-class, the w e a l t h y a n d the poor, or between ownership/management  a n d labour, d e p e n d i n g o n h o w the w o m e n define them.  21  analyze the motivational factors for business start-up. I will demonstrate how structure and agency intersect in motivating them to become entrepreneurs, specifically the intersection between opportunity structures, state policy, and market demands with class, gender, race and ethnicity. Chapter six examines the processes of business start-up. Acknowledging that these processes are not clearly and separately revealed in most entrepreneurial research, I will first analyze the decision-making processes during business start-up with regards to capital, type of ownership, target market, area of business location, etc. Then I will highlight the start-up process, documenting barriers and the support these women encountered in light of class, race, ethnicity, and gender. Chapters seven and eight examine business relations Chinese women entrepreneurs experienced while running their businesses. For analytical purposes, the two chapters will be divided into four separate sections, on class, race/ethnicity, gender and age. Chapter seven focuses on the analysis of class and race/ethnicity while chapter eight discusses the impact of gender and age. How each intersects with the others will also be carefully examined. Finally, in Chapter nine, I summarize the major findings of the research, and examine implications for future feminist scholarship, entrepreneurial studies, ethnic community studies, and policy and organizational objectives. Women entrepreneurs, in general, are not as privileged as people usually assume. Entrepreneurship is seen more as one of the career options than a capitalist venture for power and profits. As immigrant minority women, they depend very much on informal networks due to a number of factors including the unavailability of institutional support. To this end, I suggested that  22  related government departments and community organizations should be more flexible in reaching out to this group of women. This dissertation is an exploration of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs in Canada. Since very little was done in this area, and most studies of this sort have been subsumed women under entrepreneurial men, not much is known about these women as a unique group. In filling these gaps, my research contributes to scholarly work in a number of ways. First, it contributes to the theoretical understanding of entrepreneurship by challenging the White male bias in theorizing. Second, it enriches feminist scholarship on entrepreneurship, a topic that has been understudied by feminists. Third, the data provide valuable information on immigration literature by documenting the social and economic adaptation of Chinese women entrepreneurs as a result of immigration. Fourth, this research adds knowledge to the understanding of overseas Chinese ethnic communities, which have been dominated by Eurocentric and androcentric views. Fifth, it provides comprehensive and in-depth data on a group of ethnic minority immigrant women from which analysis can be drawn for future comparative analysis. Finally, it raises some important methodological issues that need to be addressed in future research.  23  Chapter Two Theorizing Ethnic Immigrant Women's Entrepreneurship  Ethnic/immigrant women entrepreneurs, in general, and Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs, in particular, have not received adequate attention in academic research. Little is known about them. Because of their marginalized positions, they have been ignored by both malestream and feminist research. These women do not fit into the malestream entrepreneurial scholarship because of the dominance of androcentric and Eurocentric theorizing, which relegates them to the periphery and sees them as not worthy of attention. If the malestream agendas exclude them and render them invisible, the increasing influence of feminist scholarship, especially the literature by women of colour, should have included them and brought them to the centre. However, this has not been the case. Liberal feminists, with their white middle-class perspectives, have not targeted minority women separately for research . Black feminists, anti-racist feminists or third-world 1  feminists, using diversity and differences as the frame of reference, are largely theorizing about the most oppressed women of colour workers and minority women in poverty, that is, those who are situated at the lower rung of social divisions . Middle-class women, whether they are professionals or knowledge workers (Agnew, 1996) or self-employed businesswomen are rarely subjects of feminist research. The feminists' core agenda to fight for justice and equity among lower-class women of colour has rendered middle-  There has been an abundance of literature on the critique of Liberal feminism. For a more recent account, see, for example, Agnew (1996). See, for example, a collection of essays and research put together by Dua and Robertson (1999), Bannerji (1993) and Vorst,et.al.(1991). 1  2  24  class women of colour invisible (Agnew, 1996). In addition, women entrepreneurs representing the capitalist spirit of self fulfillment, profit, exploitation and oppression are less likely to raise the concerns of feminists who see such attitudes and behaviour as going against feminist politics (Goffee and Scase, 1985). The use of entrepreneurship as an active means to fight against racism and sexism is never seen among feminists as a desirable strategy. Hence, Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs who are homogenized as the privileged few, have not been a group of concern to feminist researchers. Their contradictory relations within and between social divisions of race/ethnicity, gender and class have been reduced to class relations only. This being the case, the existing literature can only partially contribute to the immigrant women entrepreneurial agenda. In reviewing the literature, I will first look at the concept of entrepreneurs, and compare it with other related terminology such as small business, the self-employed and the petty bourgeoisie. Then I will critically review a number of theories on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship, and show how the predominant masculinist perspectives render these theories incomplete. Subsequently the existing literature on women's entrepreneurship will be examined, revealing its limitations for use in the study of ethnic immigrant women in business. Following which, this chapter will present an intersectional perspective of anti-racist feminism, and show how this theoretical paradigm is by far a better approach in explaining ethnic immigrant women's entrepreneurship. Finally, I will integrate the intersectional perspective with some ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship theories to develop the theoretical framework for my research.  25  Conceptualizing Entrepreneurs Within the sociological tradition, there has been a conceptual overlap between the petty bourgeoisie, the self-employed, the small business and the entrepreneur due to the congruity of hypothesis in different research (Arai, 1995). Those who pay tribute to Marx or Weber prefer to use petty bourgeoisie as the object of their studies, emphasizing the 'class' aspect of the phenomenon and the corresponding issue of exploitation. Bechhofer and Elliott (1985), for example, define petty bourgeoisie as comprising "all men and women who use their own (typically modest) capital to take over and establish an enterprise, who invest in it their own labour, supplementing that with the efforts of family or kin" and "who may also employ small numbers of other employees" (188). But "the scale of [labour] exploitation is typically very small and is an extension of, rather than a substitute for, their own labour" (Bechhofer and Elliott, 1981:183). Hence, "personal capital and personal labour remain central" (Bechhofer and Elliott, 1985:188). For Steinmetz and Wright (1989), petty bourgeoisie are the self-employed who occupy contradictory class locations, "combining characteristics of the pure petty bourgeoisie [with no hired labour] and the capitalist class" (980). They "earn an income through [their] own labor but not selling [their] labor power to an employer for a wage" and may hire workers or may employ no one" (979). Taken together, the literature on petty bourgeoisie incorporates both the notions of self-employment and small business. Those who use the concept of the self-employed focus more on the aspect that these people work for themselves than on the issue of labour exploitation (Arai, 1995). Rainbird (1991), for example, defines self-employment as "workers who for tax purposes are registered as business" (202). Even though these people own the means of production  26  (say, a sewing machine, a computer, etc.), they are not much different from wage and salary workers (Aronson, 1991) in that they usually do not realize their ownership through the establishment of a firm. In this way, the self-employed are different from the petty bourgeoisie and the entrepreneurs in the absence of an enterprise. The third related concept is the notion of small businesses. The usage of small business pertains to the size of the firm in terms of the number of employees (Arai, 1995). The major concern is about the social relations of production between small firms and large capital. The problem with this approach lies in the ambiguity of boundary definition. While for some (for example, Clement and Myles, 1994), small-scale capitalist enterprises are defined to include the self-employed who do not hire any labour or who hire no more than two individuals, others may include businesses with 20, 50 or even 100 employees (cf. Arai, 1995). In addition to the concepts of petty bourgeoisie, the self-employed and small business, another widely used concept is that of entrepreneurs. Most scholars who employ this concept would agree that entrepreneurs are unique because they are innovators (for example, Scase and Goffee, 1987; Curran and Burrows, 1987; Light and Rosenstein, 1995). But they differ in the definition of innovation, and to which groups this concept applies. To Curran and Burrow (1987), for example, entrepreneurship "denotes the innovatory process involved in the creation of a new economic enterprise based on a new product or service which differs from products or services offered by others in content, or in the way its production is organized, or in its making" (165). Using this definition, they criticize current research for applying the concept indiscriminately to businesses which lack innovative characteristics, particularly those  27  owned by ethnic minorities and women. Yet to Light and Rosenstein (1995), innovation encompasses a broader meaning. For instance, starting a new firm in itself is already an entrepreneurial innovation; expanding the firm is another; and changing the manner of doing business is a third (1). Since innovations may be important and frequent or infrequent and trivial, it would be biased if we only recognize and acknowledge the former. Usually, only a small number of entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford would make frequent, important and original innovations (Light and Rosenstein, 1995). The majority belong to the undistinguished ones who, for example, individually add "a new pizza topping" to the pizza they sell; or collectively introduced "chow mein" to the American restaurant menu (Light and Rosenstein, 1995). Since it is empirically difficult to measure innovation and its degree and magnitude, it would be difficult to distinguish between entrepreneurs, small business and the self-employed. To Light and Rosenstein, using the term entrepreneurs is more applicable as businesses usually denote some form of innovation. Having reviewed the conceptual difference between petty bourgeoisie, the selfemployed, small businesses and entrepreneurs, I incline to agree with Arai (1995) that these concepts can be used interchangeably in referring to the ownership and control of small capital and means of production. Yet in this study, I have a preference for the term "entrepreneur" for the following reasons. First, since my study does not follow strictly the Marxist or Weberian tradition, I do not want to mislead the readers by employing the concept of petty bourgeoisie. Second, since it is difficult to determine a fixed and valid boundary between large capital and small business, the concept of small business will lead to ambiguity to the scope of the study. Third, self-employed is not a preferred  28  concept because the target sample will include owners who expend their own labour and/or the labour of others. In addition, I agree with Light and Rosenstein (1995) that all business owners/operators, whether large or small, possess a certain degree of innovative entrepreneurial characteristics. Having said this, I decided to label the women business owners/operators of my study entrepreneurs for its flexibility and inclusiveness.  Ethnic/Immigrant Entrepreneurial Scholarship 3  Small capital entrepreneurs have always been a neglected group in sociology due to the scholastic legacy of Marx, Durkheim and Weber seeing it either as a temporary phenomenon or too marginal to be worth studying (Curran and Burrows, 1987). In different ways, they conceptualized small businesses as typical only "of the early phases of industrialization, doomed to be displaced by the increasing concentration, centralization and rationalization of capitalist forms of production" (Curran and Burrows, 1987:164). Yet reality is that not only has it not be displaced, it survived monopoly capitalism and has even been revived and regenerated (Bechhofer and Elliott, 1985; Steinmetz and Wright, 1989; Clement, Myles and Schellenberg, 1994; Arai, 1995). Arai (1995), for example, points out that even though Canada's self-employment rate has declined from 1953 to 1970s, by 1980s and 1990s, it has recovered to the rate of 1953. Similar patterns happened in the United States when Steinmetz and Wright (1989) note the decline between 1940 and 1970, but subsequent yearly increase ever since.  Most literature on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship in Euro-American societies uses these two concepts interchangeably. One possible reason is the bias against ethnic minorities, referring to them collectively as immigrants regardless of nativity (for example, Ward and Jenkins, 1984; Ward, 1987; Boissevain and Grotenberg, 1987). Yet for Light and his associates (Light and Bonacich, 1988; Light, Bhachu, Karageorgis, 1993; Light and Rosenstein, 1995), these two concepts should be dealt with separately. While the study of immigrant business enterprises would encompass "conceptual breadth", the study of ethnic entrepreneurship would focus on "historical specificity" (Light and Bonacich, 1988:18). Since most literature confuses between the two in theorizing, it will not be possible to distinguish between the two here. 3  29  The resurgence of entrepreneurship of small capital implies political, moral, social and economic significance. Politically, entrepreneurship is celebrated and encouraged by the state to shrug off its responsibilities to combat unemployment (Boissevain, 1984; Bechhofer and Elliott, 1981; Woods, 1987; Rainbird, 1991). Morally, it helps to sustain capitalist liberal-democratic ideologies (Bechhofer and Elliot, 1981, 1985) and revive populist beliefs of the independent producer of the past (Clement, Myles and Schellenberg, 1994; Bechhofer and Elliott, 1981, 1985). Socially, it points to the significance of personalized relations such as paternalistic or fraternal relations (Curran and Burrows, 1987) as an alternative form of relations which have been downplayed and overshadowed by the overemphasis of corporate and organizational behaviour within capitalist enterprises (Bechhofer and Elliott, 1981). Economically, many scholars point to the resurgence of small business as part of the broader context of capitalist restructuring. But they are diametrically opposed to how independent these small business entrepreneurs are. While some see them as independent, serving as "an escape" for better opportunities (Knight, 1983), other sees them constituting both "a dependent and manipulative stratum" (Bechhofer and Elliott, 1985:203) and an alternative form of employment dependent on capitalists for survival (Rainbird, 1985; Steinmetz and Wright, 1989). Such dependence can be extended to the global spectrum in which these people are exploited under world capitalism. This argument is particularly evident when applied to North American ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurs, in maintaining economic survival after immigration, are subject to exploitation by large corporations which make use of cheap ethnic and family labour and their hard working ethics (Bonacich, 1988; Light and Bonacich, 1988). Hence the rosy  30  picture of an accepting, tolerant and pluralist society that offers minority newcomers opportunities of independence, individual achievement and upward mobility was painted as part of the "American dream" (Bonacich, 1988; Light and Bonacich, 1988). However, it would be overly simplistic to assume that the consequences of the resurgence of entrepreneurship would affect all ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurs uniformly the same way. Literature on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship has long recognized diversity. Light (1972), for example, shows that historically in the United States, blacks have been underrepresented in small business ownership. Reeves and Ward (1984) document that in Britain, immigrant from Cyprus and Malta are more likely to be selfemployed or employers as compared with those from the Caribbean. Auster and Aldrich (1984) argue that in the United States, ethnic groups such as "Eastern European Jews, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Cubans" (44) are more likely to be involved in small businesses than other groups. However, according to a study done later by Razin and Langlois (1996), Chinese entrepreneurial participation became less prevalent than the other groups in both Canada and the States. The highest participation rates in Canada are Jews, Koreans, Greeks and Germans while in the United States they are Greeks and Koreans. Not only are ethnic/immigrant groups different in the degree of participation, they also vary in the size and type of business. Despite the overall impression that ethnic businesses are comparatively small, those owned and successfully operated by Jews are more likely to grow from small to large scale enterprises (Mars and Ward, 1984). In recent years, Chinese businesses in Canada have also grown in size, and become capitalist in nature as a result of transmigration and globalization (Chan, 1992; L i , 1993;  31  Wong, 1997). Sometimes, success is measured in their continued presence in particular areas rather than in terms of growth in size. In Britain, for example, Ladbury (1984) shows that Turkish Cypriots are more likely to be involved in the rag trade and restaurant industry; while Reeves and Ward (1984) document that West Indians are more likely to concentrate in construction and other service activities. Boissevain and Grotenberg (1987), in their study of Surinamese business in the Netherlands, show concentration in "retail, cafes and restaurants, and crafts" (109). Light and Bonacich (1988), in comparing Korean business with the general business community in Los Angeles, document that the former were "over-represented in manufacturing, services, and retail trade" and particularly in running liquor stores. Park (1997) shows how Korean businesses in New York City dominated specifically in greengroceries, dry-cleaning businesses, fish stores, sewing factories and nail salons. Chinese and Italians in particular are heavily involved in food services and restaurants (Mars and Ward, 1984). Studies in Richmond, B.C. (Li, 1992, 1993) also show that Chinese businesses tend to concentrate in food, retail and professional services. In addition to the diversity in ethnic entrepreneurial participation and activities, ethnic businesses vary in space and time as well. The performance of immigrant businesses, in particular, depends largely upon the reception contexts in specific time periods. Comparing across locations, Razin (1993) shows variation in the rates of selfemployment in Canada, the United States and Israel due to differences in local economic structure, which encourages or discourages immigrant entrepreneurship. The rate of selfemployment, for example, is the lowest in Canada, where ethnic businesses are more likely to gravitate to metropolitan areas than those in Israel and the United States. L i  32  (1992, 1993), on the other hand, documented the dynamics of Chinese businesses and growth in capital investment over time in Richmond, B.C. as a result of changing immigration demographics. What, then, accounts for such diversities in ethnic/immigrant businesses? Theories of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship have developed a number of explanations on the widespread and persistent group differences in entrepreneurial pursuits. These theories can be grouped into five different frameworks: the cultural thesis, the middleman minority theory, disadvantaged theory, opportunity structures theory, and the interactive model. The cultural thesis points to the characteristics shared by members of a particular ethnic group that are more likely to predispose them towards entrepreneurship. Ethnic solidarity and intact cultural heritage of some groups facilitate entrepreneurship. Therefore, for instance, the Chinese cultural tradition of kinship and clanship has provided them with the basis of forming rotating credit associations, which helped them to mobilize capital for business (Light, 1972). Religious and cultural ideologies that emphasize hard work, frugality and diligence have facilitated the over-representation, persistence and success of Jews, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese in business as compared to other groups such as the Blacks who lack an entrepreneurial tradition because of the history of Black slavery (cf. Uneke, 1996; Yoon, 1997; Park, 1997). One of the problems with this theory is the emphasis of transplanted cultural endowments of immigrant minorities, ignoring the fact that some entrepreneurial immigrants, such as the Koreans and Cubans in the United States, may not have a history of entrepreneurship before immigration (Light and Rosenstein, 1995). Another problem is the disregard for  33  structural factors such as racism in the labour market and in financial institutions (Yoon, 1997). With respect to Chinese entrepreneurship in Canada, L i (1992) suggests that such a monolithic cultural model can only be applicable to Canadian Chinese in the nineteenth century when they came from a relatively homogeneous and cohesive background predominantly from a few peasant districts of southeast China (121). A second related theoretical perspective is the middleman minority theory. The notion of the middleman refers to occupying positions between producer and consumer, employer and employee, owner and renter, elite and masses (Bonacich, 1973:583). Bonacich (1973) relates immigrant entrepreneurs as middlemen because of their sojourning mentality, a cultural factor most notable among Chinese, Jews and Indians. Such a mentality results in a tendency towards thrift and selective concentration in middleman businesses, such as trade and grocery stores, that would not tie them to the territory when they decided to leave for good. This sojourning mentality also consolidates internal communal solidarity with mutual help to cut costs, and a resistance to assimilate to the dominant culture. While this promotes internal interdependence and solidarity and restricts internal competition, it also leads to conflict and hostility with the dominant groups. A major criticism of this middleman theory is the overemphasis of the "sojourning mentality" and the failure to consider structural racism resulting in the lack of opportunities in the labour market as the cause (Yoon, 1997). Besides, middlemen are more likely to be found in peasant and colonial societies during the 19 and late 20 th  th  centuries (Yoon, 1997). Even Bonacich (Bonacich and Modell, 1980) later questioned this theory when she noted a relative lack of empirical evidence to support it in recent years.  34  The concept of "ethnic economy" was later developed from this middleman theory (Dallalfar, 1994) that focuses on the ethnic entrepreneurial activities of immigrant groups who engage in entrepreneurial development, in a variety of locations and neighbourhoods, using both class and ethnic resources beyond their ethnic enclave, such as Chinatown or Korean Town. As middlemen, they are residentially dispersed and make use of both ethnic and non-ethnic producers, suppliers and labour to provide for a broader market than the ethnic niche (Bonacich and Modell, 1980; Waldinger, McEvoy and Aldrich, 1990). Chinese concentration in the restaurant and food businesses, Japanese concentration in agriculture and fishing, and Korean concentration in the liquor store business and manicure salons are cases in point (See for example, L i , 1998; Light and Bonacich, 1988; Park, 1997; Yoon, 1997). The third theoretical stream is the disadvantaged theory. This theory explains the high participation of minority groups in business in terms of the disadvantages they face in the labour market such as language barriers, less transferable skills and knowledge, unvalidated educational and training credentials and racism (Yoon, 1997; Uneke, 1996). Hence, ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship should not be interpreted as a form of success but as an option, due to these structural barriers, working in their own business as cheap labour (Bonacich, 1988). While it is true that many minority entrepreneurs started their businesses in response to structural barriers, entrepreneurship will not likely be an option i f there is a lack of resources such as availability of information and capital, social networks, and adequate opportunity structures. Hence disadvantages do not directly translate into entrepreneurship.  35  Derived out of the disadvantaged theory is the "ethnic enclave" thesis (Portes and Bach, 1985; Portes and Jensen, 1987; Sanders and Nee, 1987; Mar, 1991) which grows out of the segmentation theory (see Doeringer and Piore, 1971; Hirsch, 1980). There are two labour markets in the economy, the primary and the secondary. The former consists of better jobs while the latter consists of jobs, mostly occupied by women and minorities, that are unskilled, low-paid, insecure and dead-ended. The ethnic enclave represents the third segment consisting of both ethnic entrepreneurs and ethnic workers (Model, 1985). The ethnic enclave arises as a reaction to economic disadvantages faced by immigrants and ethnic minorities. Those with access to capital would mobilize ethnic resources to form an entrepreneurial class. Ethnic solidarity strengthens co-ethnic services and employment, and confers important business resources in enhancing business-related ethnic networks of friends, family and kinship in terms of mutual aid and support, information sharing, social trust and help to train and sponsor co-ethnic for subsequent future entrepreneurial development (see for example Wilson and Portes, 1980; Hisrich and Brush, 1986; Zimmer and Aldrich, 1987; Light, Bhachu, and Karageorgis, 1993; Light and Rosenstein, 1995). A major problem with the enclave thesis lies in its conceptual confusion: whether the spatial factor involves residential concentration or an employment niche (Sanders and Nee, 1992; Sanders and Nee, 1987; Portes and Jensen, 1987). Besides, research on ethnic enclaves tends to focus on the analysis of labour rather than on the entrepreneurs. While some see the ethnic enclave as providing an opportunity for upward mobility for co-ethnics (e.g. Portes and Bach, 1985), others point to subordination and exploitation whereby co-ethnic workers are paid low wages with lower promotional opportunities and a higher turnover rate (e.g. Sanders and Nee, 1987;  36  Mar, 1991). Still others observe both advantages and disadvantages suggesting complexities rather than over-generalizations (Model, 1985). Some conceptualize ethnic-based resources and relations as a form of social capital by which co-ethnic friendship and kin networks are formed based on interdependence, loyalty and trust (Marger, 1989; Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993; Bates, 1994; Gold, 1994; Waldinger, 1995). The use of family resources is particularly evident as a form of social capital for family and small businesses (see for example, Zimmer and Aldrich, 1987; Sanders and Nee, 1996). As a form of social embeddedness, such ethnic/social networks may have both positive and negative consequences. While these networks may promote ethnic solidarity, they may simultaneously restrict ethnic groups to the confinement of the ethnic enclave and impede economic relations with outsiders (Waldinger, 1995). The fourth theoretical approach looks at the opportunity structures. Ethnic businesses are inconceivable without some favourable opportunities that are conducive to business (Yoon, 1997). Waldinger, Aldrich and Ward (1990) point out that market conditions in the host society are important to the establishment of ethnic businesses. First, the demands of ethnic products and services by the ethnic community especially new immigrants, who prefer to patronize trustworthy and personalized services of coethnics during their process of adjustment and settlement, have facilitated the development of ethnic businesses. Second, open market conditions may favour ethnic minorities to start businesses not confined to co-ethnics. For example, the demand of ethnic goods by the general population, the rising trend in small business, the abandonment of certain open market niches due to a lack of successors, and run-down  37  inner-city neighbourhoods or economic instability may pull ethnic minorities into establishing businesses in the open market. Finally, the availability of opportunities as a result of government policies may motivate ethnic minorities and immigrants to start businesses. Even though each of the above approaches provides some valuable insights to explaining ethnic/immigrant business enterprising, the approaches are nonetheless partial and incomplete. Thus, some scholars suggest a synthesis to incorporate these perspectives in an interactive way. I will present three models that deal with interaction in different ways: Light's resource theory of entrepreneurship (Light and Rosenstein, 1995), Marger's theory of group resources and opportunity structure ( Marger, 1989) and Waldinger, Aldrich and Ward's interactive model (1990). According to Light, all factors contributing to the unequal participation of ethnic entrepreneurship can be analyzed in terms of the interactive effects between class resources and ethnic resources. Ethnic resources refer to joint characteristics shared by an ethnic group that include "entrepreneurial heritages, entrepreneurial values and attitudes, low transaction costs, rotating credit associations, relative satisfaction arising from nonacculturation to prevailing labor standards, social capital, reactive solidarities, multiplex social networks, and a general pool of unemployed and disadvantaged coethnic workers" (Light and Rosenstein, 1995:22). Hence to use Chinese entrepreneurship as an example, "If one observes... that Chinese work long hours, save more of their income than outsiders, express satisfaction with low wages, help one another to acquire business skills and information, follow one another into the same trades, combine easily to restrain trade, utilizing rotating credit associations, or deploy multiplex social networks to economic advantage, one  38  is calling attention to the manner in which ethnic resources promote Chinese entrepreneurship" (Light and Rosenstein, 1995:22). What Light did was to combine cultural, social and ethnic market characteristics as ethnic resources. These characteristics alone are not sufficient to contribute to entrepreneurial pursuit. Rather, they interact with class resources, which are individual assets that include material resources such as "private property in the means of production and distribution, human capital, money to invest" and cultural resources such as the vocational culture of "occupationally relevant and supportive values, attitudes, knowledge, and skills transmitted in the course of socialization" (Light and Rosenstein, 1995:23). To apply class resources to ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurs, having "entrepreneurial parents, previous business experiences in their homeland, large sums of money available for investment when they arrived, materialistic attitudes and values, and graduate degree in business administration" (23) would combine to explain entrepreneurship. Understanding the diversity of ethnic business ventures requires looking into how ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurs draw on both class and ethnic resources. Adopting Light's concepts of ethnic and class resources, Marger (1989) presented an analytical model that incorporates opportunity structures. According to him, "the activity of immigrants in independent enterprise may be seen as the result of the interplay of two sets of variables: those pertaining to group resources and those relating to the opportunity structure of the receiving society" (541). Other than the ethnic and class resources possessed by the immigrants, business enterprising would not have been feasible without the social, political and economic environments that are conducive to  39  business. Hence, "the nature of the markets and relative accessibility of newcomers to them, the needs of the work-force, the legal system that regulates economic activity, and the social conventions that both facilitate interaction and sustain boundaries among groups" are crucial elements in the opportunity structures that would interact with both class and ethnic resources to produce ethnic immigrant entrepreneurs. Among all factors related to the opportunity structure, the most prominent are the ethnic enclave economy and majority group abandonment. This is especially true when both host and ethnic communities are of sufficient size and diversity. What is also critical is the degree of encouragement the host society has toward minority business activity. Another interactive model was developed by Waldinger, Aldrich and Ward (1990). Drawing from past theories, they present an even more detailed model that incorporates various group and structural factors, and the interaction between them. The opportunity structures include several market conditions and access to ownership that has been described above. Group characteristics include social, economic and psychological predisposing factors, resource mobilization and differences among ethnic immigrant groups as a result of migration. The predisposing factors point to cultural and structural disadvantages such as language barriers, nontransferable skills, and discrimination faced in the labour market as a result of migration, the willingness to take risk, and the predisposition to see business as a means to get ahead. Resource mobilization incorporates ethnic social networks such as trusted acquaintances, friendship, family and kinship ties for information sharing, and links to professionals and people of high status in the ethnic community. Another form of resource is the availability of co-ethnic labour and the cooperative and loyal relations  40  not only in employment relations, but also in relations with suppliers, subcontractors and customers. A third form of resource involves government policies in assisting immigrants, for example, through special minority investment programs. Finally, group differences in terms of (a) premigration characteristics such as the transferability of skills, (b) circumstances of migration such as temporary or permanent settlement patterns and (c) postmigration characteristics in terms of the prevalence of small business in the community are also crucial factors. Relevant ethnic strategies will then be built and developed from the interaction between these opportunity and group characteristics. These strategies include acquiring information, obtaining capital, training and skills, managing relations with employees, customers and suppliers, surviving competition and protecting themselves from political attacks. How entrepreneurs adapt from the opportunities structures and how they make use of their various resources will be reflected in the kind of ethnic strategies used in the development and running of businesses. Over all, this theoretical model has the advantage over all the others because of its comprehensiveness and the emphasis on interactivity and entrepreneurial dynamics. Within the Canadian context, Wong and Ng's (1998) study is the only one that adopts Waldinger, et.al.'s interactive model on Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs. Interviewing mostly male entrepreneurs in Vancouver who immigrated through the Canadian business immigration program, they showed how certain structural forces and ethnic resources were more applicable than others, how some issues were not mentioned by the model, and how certain ethnic strategies were used and not others. For example, not stated in Waldinger, et.al.'s model, these immigrants faced racism when establishing  41  business in the open market and consequently were restricted in doing business within the ethnic economy. Because their businesses were confined to the ethnic market, competition for vacancies in the open market was not an issue. Besides, not only are government policies in assisting entrepreneurship not available to them, they also suffer from the restrictive entrepreneurial immigration program. Yet while other immigrant groups may face blocked mobility in the labour market, as entrepreneurial immigrants who had plans to go into business before immigration, they did not have to face such barriers. Even the ethnic strategies they employed were not the same as those presented by Waldinger, et.al.'s model. While it is true that they had to mobilize co-ethnic resources and various opportunity structures to develop ethnic strategies such as acquiring information, recruiting workers, managing customers, and securing competition with other businesses in the ethnic economy, they did not have to deal with capital mobilization and political attacks. In addition, however, an ethnic strategy that is unique to them but not discussed in the model is the aspect of transnationalism, through which transnational business enclaves across borders were established. Even though the literature on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship has been well developed providing invaluable insights, its major shortcoming lies in the androcentricity and the failure to recognize intra-group diversity. No distinction is made between ethnic/immigrant male and female entrepreneurs, which implicitly implies the biased notion of universality. More importantly, the mobilization of gender resources and their vital role in ethnic entrepreneurship were not being addressed (Dallafar, 1994). Hence, the theories developed in this area can only partially be applicable to the enterprising processes of ethnic immigrant women.  42  The Literature on Women's Entrepreneurship Not only is it the case that women in business have never been of interest to the feminists, few studies have made reference to feminism in theorizing. Among them, Goffee and Scase (1985) attempted to relate different types of businesswomen to traditional gender roles and feminist ideologies and noted that only a minority of businesswomen attempted to use their business endeavour to promote gender egalitarianism as a cause. Fischer, Reuber and Dyke (1993) made use of liberal feminism and socialist feminism to explain gender differences in doing business and more specifically, why women entrepreneurs did not do as well as their male counterparts. Green and Cohen (1995) saw women's involvement in small businesses as a hegemonic process in giving women the opportunity to negotiate, to feel autonomous, empowered and in control yet does not alter the fundamental positions and world views of women, particularly working mothers (312). While their work made some contribution towards remedying the existing atheoretical tradition in most entrepreneurial research on women, whether this will generate feminist interests in this area remains to be seen. Indeed, much of the existing literature on women entrepreneurs is descriptive and quantitative in nature. One central theme centres around delineating profiles of business women as compared with men (Stevenson, 1986; Lavoie, 1988; Belcourt, 1991; Belcourt, et.al., 1991; Fischer, 1992). Female entrepreneurs are found more likely to be selfemployed and small employers (Belcourt, et.al., 1991; Johnson and Storey, 1993), and their businesses tend to be younger than the men's (Belcourt, et.al., 1991). Their investments tend to be segregated in a few traditionally female-specific areas, for example, concentrating in the retail and service sectors (Belcourt, et.al., 1991), in areas  43  such as "food production, nutrition, health and child care" (Allen and Truman, 1993:8), or in "hotel and catering, personal and social services, administrative and business services, retailing, textiles, ready-to-wear clothing and crafts" (Turner, 1993). They are likely to be first born, raised by middle class families, better educated, children of immigrants and of minority status (Belcourt, 1986/7; 1987/8). Though in general their profile is similar to their male counterparts, there are some significant differences between them. For example, women entrepreneurs are less likely to be experienced (Stevenson, 1986) and qualified (Johnson and Storey, 1993), less likely to adopt appropriate management skills (Goffee and Scase, 1985), and more likely to acquire entrepreneurial skills through self-teaching (Belcourt, et.al., 1991) and to build business from their own hobbies or unpaid domestic skills (Kaur and Ffayden, 1993). This is due in part to the male bias toward formal training, which targets primarily men (Turner, 1993). A second major theme focuses on the motivational factors for business start-up. Over all, most research found that women and men are quite similar in the reasons for choosing entrepreneurship as their career. Like men, women claim the quest for autonomy and independence, increased self-confidence and self-worth, personal challenge, economic necessity, and monetary gains (Goffee and Scase, 1985; Stevenson, 1986; Scott, 1986) as the major reasons for starting their own business. But there are differences due to the gender-specific nature of being women. In contrast to men, women are more likely to choose entrepreneurship as a response to sex-related disadvantages in the labour market such as promotional barriers due to the 'glass ceiling effect' (Goffee and Scase, 1985; Stevenson, 1986; Belcourt. et.al., 1991; Richardson and Hartshorn,  44  1993), unemployment and underemployment (Turner, 1993), and the need for greater flexibility to fulfill family obligations (Goffee and Scase, 1985; Scott, 1986; Stevenson, 1986; Richardson and Hartshorn, 1993). Some women go into business for social reasons such as making friends and alleviating loneliness (Goffee and Scase, 1985; Lavoie, 1988). Others establish businesses for the political reason of combating male dominance (Goffee and Scase, 1985). The third theme of female entrepreneurship centres around business operation and success. Female entrepreneurs are less likely to obtain financing from banks and other financial institutions than their male counterparts (Johnson and Storey, 1993; Kaur and Hayden, 1993; Turner, 1993). Indeed, there is also a lack of financial programs specifically targeting women (Turner, 1993). With limited capital, they have to invest in their own labour and a high level of efficiency in order to make their businesses work (Allen and Truman, 1993). In addition, unlike men who rely on family and wives to help out, businesswomen tend to lack support from their husbands (Belcourt, 1986/7, 1987/8; Stevenson, 1986). Those husbands who help are much recognized for their effort. Often they are credited as experts (Stevenson, 1986). In fact, women face constraints on time and spatial mobility as a result of household and domestic responsibilities (Allen and Truman, 1993). Due to family responsibilities, there is "a potential of self-exploitation within entrepreneurship where the boundaries between paid and unpaid work are diffuse and obscure" (Allen and Truman, 1993:9). Women are also more likely to hire women employees. This decision is probably because their businesses are more likely to be women-related such as hairdressing and retail ladies' clothing, or simply because they  45  tend to have a preference for female rather than male employees (Johnson and Storey, 1993). The barriers faced by women in business are well documented. Belcourt, et.al. (1991), for example, notes that entrepreneurial women are likely to be trapped in a glass box in which they are being "boxed in by conflicting demands, lack of time, and lack of access to funds and network support, knowledge and experience" (ii). In other words, they experience conflict between work and family, as well as discrimination from male customers, suppliers, bankers and even employees (Belcourt, 1991). Consequently, female-owned businesses are likely to be less profitable (Johnson and Storey, 1993) and more likely to end in bankruptcy despite the fact that businesswomen tend to work longer hours (Belcourt, 1991). Similarly, Miskin and Rose (1990) found that family burden, when combined with less business experiences and performance skills, would retard the growth of a new venture (35). Loscocco and Robinson (1991) also document how the lack of family support on top of family responsibilities makes women's businesses less successful than their male counterparts. Turner (1993) mentions the lack of advice from organizations and agencies to help women due to male orientation, and orientation towards larger business. Fischer (1992) in addition demonstrates how the relatively less experienced and lower motivations of women make their firms perform less well than those of men. One key problem associated with most of the work on women entrepreneurs lies in treating them as a homogeneous group regardless of diverse experiences. Very few studies pay attention to ethnic women entrepreneurs, let alone the diversity among them, and when they do so, they treat them as uniformly disadvantaged. Turner (1993), for  46  example, in analyzing the push and pull motivational factors of women entrepreneurs, dichotomizes these factors along ethnic lines subsuming all ethnic minority women to be disadvantaged, and consequently being pushed into setting up businesses to fight against unemployment, underemployment and unsatisfactory conditions and prospects at work. Kaur and Hayden (1993), similarly, wrote about the "double discrimination" Asian and black women face whereby "self-employment may be the only viable alternative" to lowpaid work (103). Belcourt, et.al. (1991) draw our attention to ethnic women's business ventures as a response to sexism and racism. In order to avoid racism, they are more likely to be involved in ethnic businesses. The businesses in which they engage are generally in the service and retail sectors, generating low profits. They usually do not pay themselves, or pay themselves a low income. They depend a great deal on family connections, especially their spouse, for financing and advice. In fact, they are more likely to start family businesses as compared with the average women. They are also more likely to see their family responsibilities as more important than their business careers. This insensitivity to diversity is largely attributed to the impact of conventional [white] male theoretical and empirical agendas. Campbell (1994), for example, comments on how knowledge of women's entrepreneurial patterns becomes hidden as a result of taking men's experiences as the norm: "on the theoretical level, acceptance of male behaviour as the norm severely limits the discovery of new entrepreneurial patterns, while at the pragmatic level, the male-as-norm bias distorts seemingly objective data" (10). Similarly, Stevenson (1986) charges the positivist approach in using male standards and definitions: "[this approach] makes male entrepreneurship the standard, and then  47  proceeds to measure women against it..." (32). For example, "the traditional economic definition of work and the status of money as the true/only measure of success" (Campbell, 1994:12) overlooks the distinctive patterns of women's entrepreneurship. Unlike men, making a profit or expanding the business may not be considered as essential to success. Besides, women may have their unique way of doing business. Building diverse and loosely coupled personal networks of business, employee, and family relationship is crucial to them (Aldrich, 1989; Udo, 1993). Aside from the androcentric problem in theorizing, Campbell (1994) is also critical of the method used in most empirical studies. She criticizes the prevailing quantitative research strategy as culturally insensitive, that is, unable to escape gendercultural bias. However, she does not reject it totally but sees it as "a necessary first step" for the collection of "raw demographic data" (12). Yet in order to fully understand patterns of female entrepreneurship, "more cultural sensitive, qualitative methods are needed" (13). Women should be allowed to relate their experiences, their values and reasons for doing business using their own language. Hence, women entrepreneurs should be studied "separately and intensively" (13). And this, I would like to add, is particularly important in understanding the diverse experiences of both white and women-of-colour, and immigrant women entrepreneurship. Whether Campbell's urge for a change in paradigm and method is successful has yet to be seen. By far, Goffee and Scase's study (1985) is still one of the most widely cited works in providing a detailed and in-depth account of the diversity of mainstream women entrepreneurs and its relations to traditional gender roles. They recognize four types of women entrepreneurs: conventional, domestic, innovative, and radical.  48  Conventional businesswomen are those who have trading, business and technical skills due to past employment experiences in women-related jobs. These women are more likely to establish gender-specific businesses such as fashion boutiques, hairdressing salons, guest houses, secretarial agencies and office-cleaning businesses. They are more likely to be motivated by personal autonomy and economic needs; however, they do not challenge their traditional gender roles. They would like to maintain their domestic duties along with their business responsibilities. Their business income is considered supplementary. In addition, they tend to reinforce the gender division labour by hiring women employees in their women-specific businesses. Domestic businesswomen have their home businesses based on their hobbies, creative skills and talents in areas such as dressmaking, pottery making, flower arrangement, etc. Self-fulfillment and personal expressions are more important motivations than economic needs because their husbands tend to have professional careers. They put children and families as the top priority, regarding traditional gender roles as natural and complementary. These domestic businesses can easily transform into family businesses when the husbands lose their careers and incomes. They are more likely to end up taking charge, thus relegating the wives to subordinate roles. Innovative businesswomen, on the other hand, reject traditional gender relationships and emphasize personal achievement through business success. As businesses take up much of their energy and attention, these women are less likely to get married. Even i f they have families, they still give priority to their business interests. These women believe in personal efforts and hard work individually to overcome gender  49  barriers rather than in the collective organization advocated by feminists. As a result, they assimilate to male values and become marginalized by both men and women. Radical proprietors, on the contrary, see their business endeavour as part of the collective struggle against gender inequality. Even though they come from middle-class backgrounds, they do not make use of the privileges that come with entrepreneurship. On the other hand, they would like to share these privileges with other women by engaging in co-owned enterprises or cooperative organization. Yet they usually find themselves struggling between egalitarian ideologies and the reality of profit-making. Cromie and Hayes (1988) later did research to validate Goffee and Scase's model. While radical businesswomen are not found in their sample, 'innovators' are very much similar to those described by Goffee and Scase and the 'dualists' resemble the conventionals. The 'returners' are quite similar to the domestics except that they fulfill their child rearing responsibilities before returning to establishing a career based in business. In any case, these typological models, albeit constructed as ideal types, are valuable in challenging the unitary approach in most entrepreneurial research. Yet both Goffee and Scase (1985), and Cromie and Hayes (1988) fall short in recognizing diversity based on race and ethnicity. Indeed, very few studies of women entrepreneurs consider ethnic minority women "separately and intensively", to quote Campbell (1994) again. The most recent studies deal with South Asian immigrant women in Britain (Dhaliwal, 1998; Raghuram and Hardill, 1998) and Iranian immigrant women in the United States (Dallafar, 1994). The study of Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs as a case study is almost non-existent. The only study I can locate is Baxter and Raw's study of Chinese women in the ethnic  50  catering industry in Britain. Most studies of Chinese women's entrepreneurship in Canada, for example, either subsume women as helpers of male-dominated family business (for example, L i , 1998) or obscure gender by considering both Chinese men and women as a single entity (Wong and Ng, 1998; Uneke, 1996), or hide them within the group of Asian entrepreneurs (Froschauer, 1998). In order to explore Chinese immigrant women in business adequately, a shift in paradigm is needed and can only be accomplished with the application of a feminist perspective. In the following, I will detail the intersectional perspective that I consider by far more relevant in explaining the unique yet diverse experiences these women encounter.  The Intersectional Perspective The intersectional perspective is a feminist approach that theorizes the interconnection of race, class and gender , broadening beyond the scope of gender. 4  Intersectional theorists write about topics related to women of colour and are usually represented by black feminists (for example, hooks, 1984; Collins, 1991; Collins, 1993), anti-racist feminists (for example, Anthias and Yuval-Davis, 1992; Stasiulis and YuvalDavis, 1995; Creese and Stasiulis, 1996; Dua and Robertson, 1999) and third world feminists (such as Mohanty, 1991 and Chow, 1991 and 1993). In general, they are highly critical of the masculinist Western traditions and White feminists as non-representative or misrepresentative in explaining the experiences of women of colour. They reject essentialism, ahistoricism, universalism, quantification and prioritization in theorizing systems and relations of power, domination and subordination.  Creese and Stasiulis (1996), for example, called this the "holy trinity", but suggested that such interlocking relations should not be limited only to class, race and gender; but can be extended to other systems of power such as ethnicity, dis(abilities), sexuality, age, immigration, citizenship, etc.  4  51  The theorizing of the intersectional perspective focuses on two different yet interrelated issues: women's 'knowing' of their lived experiences as a starting point for feminist activism, and the multiplicity of women's experiences based in multiple locations (Dua, 1999). The two central questions they ask include (1) how women of colour are active agents, capable of knowing and constructing their own experiences within their structural locations, and (2) how the complex identities and experiences of women of colour are affected by the inter-related structural forces of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and patriarchy, as well as through power and agency. With respect to the first agenda, the goal of anti-racist feminism is to bring women of colour "from margin to the centre" of analysis (hooks, 1984). Women and particularly women of colour, because of their subordinated positions, have been misrepresented by the power of domination. Mohanty (1991), for example, criticized how men, including third-world men, homogenized all women as the 'other'. In particular, she expressed her concern about homogenizing third-world women "under western eyes" as "ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domestic, family-oriented, victimized... [and]... sexually constrained" (56). Chow (1991) also criticized the romanticism played by western scholars including White feminists to reinforce the authenticity of an indigenous Chinese patriarchy onto Chinese women, championing how Chinese women should be represented. Hence, Hong Kong women who are westernized are seen as "contaminated". To deal with the misrepresentations of women of colour, it is therefore important to give these women their voices. We have to recognize that women of colour are also active agents, with a "free mind", capable of self-definition (Collins, 1991). We should  52  not see women as pawns, as objects reacting passively to structural forces, defined by the power of dominance. Nor should we recognize only the experiences and knowledge produced by educated and intellectual women (hooks, 1984; Collins, 1991). A l l women, rather, are capable of telling their stories from their own standpoints. Such recognition is crucial because this puts the person at the centre, capable of defining, re-defining and deconstructing ideas and knowledge based on their overarching positions of race, class and gender. Yet we have to bear in mind that the stories told by women may be full of contradictions. Not all women, who are oppressed, "know" their oppressions nor do they "know" what needs to be done to end oppression (cf. Dua, 1999). Nonetheless, their contradictory experiences are valuable, representing the ongoing processes of producing knowledge. There is not absolute truth, and the knowledge produced cannot be generalizeable to all other groups situated in different historical contexts (Collins, 1991). The experiences of women are complex because of how they are differentially located in interlocking historical contexts. Hence, the second agenda of the intersectional perspective deals with how women interact with these structural forces, most commonly expressed in the intersection of race, ethnicity, class and gender. To understand this, we have to recognize that these social divisions are not essential, ahistorical, fixed and absolute categories that are independent of each other, competing for primacy and importance. Neither category should be analyzed separately nor takes precedence over others, nor is related to each other quantitatively. A l l these categories are socially constructed depending on the contexts, and intersect with each other to produce and reproduce unique experiences and social relations.  53  For example, according to Anthias and Yuval-Davis (1992), gender cannot be reduced to biology and analyzed purely on the basis of sexual differences and biological reproduction. Gender division and practices are fluid and negotiable relating to class and race, and other cultural and political projects related to ethnicity and the nation . In other 5  words, gender can be racialized, ethnicized and classed to produce diverse forms of inclusion and exclusion. Likewise, class alone, analyzed as productive processes, cannot be reduced to the economy. Class relations are constructed and reproduced by means of gender and race, ethnic and nationalist discourses and practices. B y the same token, race should not be interpreted only by physical traits such as skin colour or "blackness , and 1  can only be fully understood when interconnecting with nationalism, ethnicity, gender, class and the state. Ethnicity too is socially constructed, and cannot be reduced to culture, with boundaries determined by a number of parameters such as birthplace, culture, religion, language, and other symbolic practices. Ethnic categories form 'imagined communities' (Anderson cf. Anthias and Yuval-Davis, 1992) constructed for the purposes of inclusion and exclusion but varied between insiders and outsiders depending on the interplay with politics, class and gender for political and economic ends. Race, ethnicity,  Closely related to ethnicity is the notion of nationalism. Nationalist ideologies with the perception of sharing common origin and common destiny are characteristic of the hegemonic ethnicity, and are used to racialize and ethnicize gendered groups and different classes as foreign and subordinate, to be outside of the national boundaries, and restricted from participation in civil society. Nationalism is part of racism, and is used to create "imagined communities" where artificial boundaries of the 'other' are constructed together with race, culture, gender and class characteristics for exclusion. As a result, Canadian nationalism, for example, leads to immigration policy and citizenship projects for selective discrimination. Not only are race, ethnicity and nation inter-related concepts, they also constitute interchangeable discourses. Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis (1995) and Yuval-Davis (1997) point to an important conceptual understanding of these divisions. While these collectivities are all socially constructed imagined communities fabricated by culture and share common origin and common destiny, they become "labelled as ethnic, racial or national by different agents and/or different historical circumstances" (Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis, 1995:20). Hence, depending on the project, whether it is political, racial and cultural, different labels are applied. Depending on the context and project of power relations, nationalist discourses are articulated as hegemonic ethnicity; racial discourses as racially and culturally inclusive; and ethnic discourses as sharing origin and/or destiny based on culture. 5  54  class and gender, therefore, integrate and inform each other in producing and reproducing unique experiences through processes of negotiation and contestation. Hence, it is crucial to recognize "contradictions inherent in women's location within various structures" (Mohanty, 1991b:66) by situating women in "particular historical conjunctures" while simultaneously "insisting on their oppositional agency of individuals and collectives and their engagement in 'daily life'" (Mohanty, 199la: 13). The binary vision of all men as exploiters and all women as the exploited or whites rule blacks are over-generalizing (Mohanty, 1991b; Collins, 1991). Rather, "depending on the context, an individual may be an oppressor, a member of the oppressed group, or simultaneously oppressor and oppressed" (Collins, 1991:225). Needless to say, then, understanding and explaining the experiences of women of colour lies in the careful deconstructing of social relations resulting from the interplay of structure and agency, grounded in specific historical contexts. With respect to history, the legacy of colonialism and imperialism is of particular significance interplaying with patriarchy and capitalism in shaping experiences of women of colour. Hence, imperial 6  and colonial rule has constructed and consolidated white masculinity as normative, upholding their power "as protectors of morals and women" and therefore correspondingly led to the racialization and sexualization of the colonized people, and the consolidation of colonial institutions, policies, and hegemonic cultures in colonized societies (Mohanty, 1991b:15-16). British Colonial rule, in particular, has created the "White gentlemen" as the "ideal imperial agent that embodied authority, discipline,  Patriarchy is also fluid and negotiable within the racist context and articulates with capitalism, together with the historicization and contextualization of gender (Anthias and Yuval-Davis, 1992:107-109). 6  55  fidelity, devotion, fortitude, and self-sacrifice" (Mohanty, 199lb: 17), and White women as saviours of third-world or black women (Carry, 1999). But even the impact of colonialism and imperialism is not uniform and even depending on how it articulates with race and gender in subordinating men and women. Canada, as a settler society, being culturally attached to its imperial past, was built as a white nation and has developed extensive systems of exclusion, subordination and exploitation of aboriginal, and immigrant men and women (Yuval-Davis and Stasiulis, 1995; Stasiulis and Jhappan, 1995; Ng, 1993) whereby "a variety of coercive, ideological, legal, administrative and cooptative mechanisms" are exercised (Yuval-Davis and Stasiulis, 1995:4). This leads to the implementation of racist and sexist immigration policies, segregation policies on housing, education and employment for minority men and women, racist policies on Indian affairs, and disenfranchisement of minority and aboriginal men and women, and white women. In particular, the notion of "Whiteness" intertwining with the western notion of patriarchy and capitalism in building the Canadian nation has important consequences for women of colour, constructing them all as "immigrant women" through which all women of colour including native women are subjugated as outsiders (Ng, 1989).  Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis (1995) distinguished between "colonies of exploitation" and "settler societies". Colonies of exploitation are the result of more common form of colonialism in which colonial powers constitute "a relatively small, sojourning group of primarily male administrators, merchants, soldiers and missionaries... through a 'thin white line' in exercising control and appropriating land, natural resources and labour" (Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis, 1995:3). Hong Kong under British rule is an example of this type. The intention of the colonizers is not to settle permanently in the colonized land but to instill and control western imperial, patriarchal and capitalist ideologies and practices. A settler society, on the other hand, is characterized by a large "settler European population of both sexes for permanent settlement" from which "developed much more elaborate political and economic infrastructures" that are independent of the mother country, yet simultaneously have always "maintained relations of dependence" with it (3). Peculiar enough is the co-existence of a strong cultural attachment to the mother country and resentment of its imperial authority. 7  56  The fluidity of the intersection of imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism result in the multiplicity of experiences among women of colour. Hence, for example, the historical impact of slavery on black women (Thornhill, 1989) would be very different from the impact of colonialism on First Nations women (Bourgeault, 1989; Miracle, 1993; Stevenson, 1998). According to Thornhill (1989), black women have a long history of non-traditional roles as a result of the "Triple Oppression". As women slaves, they were treated as harshly as male slaves in history, and thereby adopted a masculinist role struggling for individual independence. For aboriginal women, their egalitarian gender relations were transformed into the subordination and exploitation of women as a result of British and French colonialism intersecting with European capitalist expansion and European patriarchy (Bourgeault, 1989; Stevenson, 1998). Indian women became sexual commodities to be purchased in exchange for European goods; or to be exploited as cheap labour. The dichotomization between the public and the private put forward by the European ideal of the "cult of true womanhood" was introduced in the colonial transformation through which Indian women were first subordinated to European men and later to Indian men (Stevenson, 1998). Immigrant minority women from the Caribbean and the Philippines (Calliste, 1989; Bakan and Stasiulis, 1997) faced unique immigration policies and oppression at work. Calliste (1989), for example, documented how Caribbean black women were racialized, gendered and classed to be "admirably" suitable for domestic work because they were "fond of children" and "knew their place" (135-136). Yet they were also perceived "as promiscuous or as single parents likely to be come a public burden" (142) and therefore should only be allowed to stay temporarily. These women domestic  57  workers were produced by the match between Canada and the Caribbean where the former was desperately in need of domestic labour and the latter's desire to export labour. The Canadian state has used various immigration policies to manipulate and organize this group of labour in conjunction with the Caribbean state, degrading them based on class, race and gender informed by colonialism and neo-colonialism. South Asian women, yet were racialized in specific ways uniquely different from other minority women (Bannerji, 1993). They were both "physically and geographically invisible", living "in a vacuum, in the state of constant facelessness" (178-179) in Canadian society, yet were constructed with images of "passivity, docility, silence, illiteracy, un-cleanliness, smell of curry, and fertility" (180). Asian (Chinese) women on the other hand were constructed as "passive, silent, and either asexual or readily available, exotic sex objects" (Yee, 1993:40). A l l in all, the intersectional perspective points to the notion of diversity and difference, and the interplay between structure and agency by observing the intertwining and overarching effects of race, ethnicity, class and gender. While this approach is valuable in taking an insider's perspective, delineating complex processes of identity politics and social relations, it is limited in explaining why the interplay between structure and agency is diverse. In other words, it fails to account for the order of influence in diverse contexts. In addition, while this approach has been employed by Q  research in a number of areas , very little was done in the area on entrepreneurship. Despite the call for the recognition of linking entrepreneurship to race, sex and class (Beggs, Doolittle and Garsombke, 1994), theories and research in this area are still scarce. One of the studies is on the Iranian immigrant women entrepreneurs in Los  58  Angeles (Dallafar, 1994) in which the mobilization of gender resources, and how they interact with class and ethnicity was noted. Another study is on Korean-owned nail salons in New York City (Kang, 1996), which focuses on language dynamics in everyday interaction based on race, gender and class. Needless to say, no research has been done on the Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs, particularly within the Canadian context.  Theorizing Canadian Hong Kong Chinese Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs A comprehensive understanding of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs requires a unique approach not popularly used by past research on entrepreneurship.  This group of women, just by naming them, denotes multiple facets  and levels of experiences in Canadian society. Such multiplicity could be both complementary and contradictory, depending on the contexts and situations, thus resulting in unique identities. In addition, it is highly likely that this group of women does not all share similar life and work experiences, since they enter into diverse social relations under different historical conditions. As the above discussion indicates, existing theories of entrepreneurship are limited as they offer a malestream essentialist approach. To explore and theorize the entrepreneurial experiences of this group of women requires a more inclusive perspective within which the multiple interactive relations can be fully addressed. I believe that the integration of theoretical frameworks from the literature of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurship and the intersectional perspectives work better to offer a comprehensive understanding of minority women entrepreneurs. Such an approach works particularly well in the exploratory case study I undertook.  8  See for example articles published in the journal of Race, Gender & Class. 59  First, borrowing from the intersectional theories I recognize the importance of bringing Hong Kong Chinese women to the centre of analysis. Seeing them as active agents, I would like to demonstrate how they are capable of self-definition relative to others on the basis of the intersection of race, ethnicity, class and gender. It is important to recognize that this group of women is not uniformly privileged or disadvantaged. While as entrepreneurs, they should have enjoyed certain economic privileges and power and control, such privileges are offset because of their disadvantaged position as women, and their marginalized ethnic/racial and immigrant positions in Canada. On the other hand, as women, they may enjoy certain privileges that would help facilitate their class position, for example, in starting and running women-specific businesses hiring women employees. These privileges may intertwine with their privileges as Chinese when doing business in the Chinese community, hence consolidating their class positions. In different ways then, race, ethnicity, class, and gender intersect with each other in producing contradictory positions and relations for this group of women. As subjects, they are involved in the racialization, ethnicization, gendering and class-ification of social relations embedded in entrepreneurship. In addition, I also recognize the "multiplicity of experiences" (Dua, 1998) of these immigrant women entrepreneurs. Not only are they different from White women, other women of colour, and the Chinese women who were born and raised in Canada, they differ among themselves as a result of origin and destination in their migration process, time of migration, migration experiences as well as personal and family backgrounds, and work experiences. In other words, due to historical, contextual and temporal specificity, it is important to set parameters on the Chinese immigrant women that I want to study: to  60  confine them to immigrants from Hong Kong in post-war years who reside in the Greater Vancouver area and have their business set up in Richmond. Setting the boundaries on time and space will allow me to understand better how structural specificity acts uniformly on these women, and how they, on the other hand, respond, react and resist differently. Borrowing from the literature of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship, I realize that it is important to look at the advantages and disadvantages these women face as a result of individual and group resources and barriers in the processes of entrepreneurship: specifically in deciding to become entrepreneurs, in starting their businesses, and in running them. In terms of resources, and adopting primarily from Light and Rosenstein (1995), I will identify three major kinds: class, ethnic and gender resources. While family has been documented to be an important part of entrepreneurial pursuit in both women and ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship literature, it will be subsumed under class, ethnicity and gender. Hence, class resources include class background and influence of the family, capital, entrepreneurial attitudes, values and motivation, knowledge, skills and education, and previous business experiences. Ethnic resources incorporate more than just cultural values and attitudes towards entrepreneurship, but social capital as well such as trustful and loyal co-ethnic social networks and connections from business acquaintances, friendship, family and relatives; a pool of available co-ethnic labour; and market conditions such as the demand of ethnic products and services. As for gender resources, due to a lack of reference, I will construct them as consisting of gender-specific knowledge and skills, female labour and demands of women products and services, as well as women-specific social capital in the  61  form of family support networks, female social networks and connections of business acquaintances and friends. In addition, the notion of transnationalism will be examined in terms of class, ethnic and gender resources. As Wong and Ng (1997) noticed, transnational networks constitute an important strategy for business immigrants. It would be interesting to find out how this would affect Chinese women immigrants in business. While these resources are distinctly defined for analytical purposes, in reality, they interact in different ways to produce entrepreneurship. It is also important to take note of the fact that even though these resources are analyzed as individual and/or group characteristics, many of them are nonetheless the products of transnational, local, and ethnic opportunity structures as a result of migration. Class, race and gender barriers, known as classism, racism and sexism co-exist and intersect with resources in affecting entrepreneurialism. Informed by Anthias and Yuval-Davis (1992), classism refers to economic exploitation and subordination based on unequal class relations in the labour market; racism refers to unequal race/ethnic relations as a result of phenotypical and cultural subordination; and sexism connotes subjugation of women in unequal gender relations by means of sexuality and gender stereotypes. Even though each may be distinct in its own right in analysis, they in reality inform each other to produce diverse effects. These barriers can be structural and individual. Structurally in particular, racism, classism and sexism are the products of the intersection of colonialism, imperialism and patriarchy in producing nationalism to exclude immigrant minority women. Hence the role of the Canadian State in implementing racist, sexist and classist immigration and economic policies will be addressed. Simultaneously, the impact of culture, patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism of the source of origin, Hong  62  Kong, also plays a key part and should be examined. These structural forces of classism, racism and sexism interact as a result of migration, which will inform racism, sexism and classism in everyday social and economic life. The diverse individual responses to these structural forces will explain the multiplicity of these women's entrepreneurial ventures. M y research will demonstrate how these women, in responding to diverse structural forces, participate actively in the racialization, ethnicization, gendering and class-ification at various stages of their entrepreneurial projects.  63  Chapter Three Research Methods and Profiles of the Sample  M y research on Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs is about a group that has been marginalized and invisible throughout their history in Canada. It serves at least three purposes. First, it intends to explore intensively these women's entrepreneurial experiences after immigration. Second, it seeks to find out the complex reasons behind their choice to do business. Third, it looks at how their entrepreneurial experiences are the result of the interlocking relations of gender, race, ethnicity, class and immigration. To achieve these purposes, I looked more for the depth rather than the breadth of knowledge where meanings are more important than frequencies, and personal voices from the subjects are considered more valuable than statistical representation and generalization. Qualitative method, using primarily a nonmathematical procedure of analysis, would therefore be the most suitable means in conducting this research. This chapter begins with a discussion of the methods I used for my research. I will first present the rationale for employing qualitative research as the primary mode of inquiry. Then I will introduce and outline the plans of my research, which serve as a guide only. Since the actual research process is open to the contingency of the situations, it may very well deviate from the original plans. After that I will present a description of my research experiences and the "reflections of my research journey" pertaining to the 1  different stages of my research: the pretest and the interview schedule, the sampling procedure, the initial contact process, the interview process, as well as the transcription  This phrase is taken directly from Linda Carty's article title: "Seeing through the Eye of Difference: A reflection on Three Research Journeys". 1  64  and translation process. These experiences are particularly valuable as they contribute not only to my own learning, but also raise issues to future work in this area. At the end of the chapter, I will present some descriptive information about the sample: the social and demographic characteristics of the women in this study as well as the business profiles will be considered. Education, age, family background, marriage and family status will be examined as important fundamental information to appreciate and explain these women's business behaviour and the social relations embedded within. I will also examine the characteristics of the businesses such as type, scale, and partnership, and further discuss the ethnic and gender nature of these businesses.  Research Method The sociological methods of inquiry are grounded in two traditions: the positivist or quantitative tradition and the interpretive or qualitative tradition (Goldenberg, 1992). While debates on these two methodologies have been ongoing, there seems to be no conclusive claim as to which is the best method. Since these two methods can be supplementary rather than contradictory to each other , the choice would depend on the 2  theoretical questions and the goals of the research (Hammersley, 1992). After all, clearcut distinction drawn between the two is more of an over-simplification when quantitative and qualitative analyses may overlap in actual research. As Strauss and Corbin (1990) pointed out, qualitative data collected from interviews or observation can be quantified and statistically analyzed. In essence, however, these two traditions represent two diametrically opposite philosophical positions. Researchers who follow the qualitative or interpretive tradition  65  of research are critical to the positivist approach in its attempt to generate objective, neutral and value-free scientific truth. Instead they argue that knowledge is situational and socially constructed. While the quantitative approach looks for general patterns and ignores deviant or exceptional cases, the qualitative method seeks nuances and articulate details, and is more concerned with cases that tend to be dismissed by quantitative analysis. In addition, qualitative researchers also commit themselves to the insider perspective, arguing that explanations should be taken from the subject's point of view. Further to this stance is the challenge to the authoritarian role of the researcher who, in studying people as objects, treat them and their behaviour as problematic . 3  Feminist scholars who follow the interpretive tradition are particularly sensitive to the last point where they see the authoritarian role of the researcher as marginalizing and degrading women's experiences. Instead of studying women as objects, they should treat them as "knowers" (Richardson, 1995; Campbell, 1994; Collins, 1991), as real people, capable of telling, describing, contextualizing, rationalizing and organizing their past lives and experiences temporarily and in meaningful ways. Most feminist researchers also argue against absolute truth (Acker, et.al., 1996). Knowledge, rather, is "situated knowledge" that is based in "location, positioning, and situating, where partiality and not universality is the condition of being heard to make rational knowledge claims" (Haraway, 1991:193). In other words, it implies the "qualities of multiplicity" that are "located in time and space and particular cultures" and are "embodied in specific ways, and operate as social and collective points of view"  An example would be to use qualitative data to illustrate or clarify quantitatively derived findings or to use some form of quantitative data to partially validate one's qualitative analysis, a method known as 'triangulation' (Strauss and Corbin, 1990:18-19). 2  66  (Gottfried, 1996b: 13). Knowledge is not cumulatively additive but partial, transient, and negotiable. It depends on how and where it is situated, and therefore is not generalizeable to different contexts, history and space. Specifically, by incorporating race and class as integral parts of a woman's standpoint, women's experiences are diverse in many different ways: instead of being additive to each other, they contribute to a cumulative social science (Gorelick, 1996). Such recognition of diversity and differences in women's voices goes against the traditional positivist research methodology from which additive, universal and essential knowledge is reproduced. While some feminists see women as knowers, others realize that listening to women's voices alone is not enough to produce knowledge. Researchers have the responsibilities to connect and relate women's experiences to the relations and structure that underlie them (Gottfried, 1996b; Acker, et.al., 1996). Since it is highly probable that these women may lack "cumulative knowledge" on the "hidden aspects of oppression"(Acker, et.al., 1996:29), their standpoints may not come naturally but have to be mediated by the researcher, acting as a facilitator to dig out the hidden structures of oppression and their determinants. Mediation takes the form of semi-structured or intensive interviews which require "open[ing] our ears ... and hear[ing] what they have to say in their own terms... so that we can hear the unheard and the unimagined" (Belenky, et.al. in Reirihartz, 1992:19-20). Hence, "[t]he use of semi-structured interviews has become the principal means by which feminists have sought to achieve the active involvement of their respondents in the construction of data about their lives" (cf. Reinhartz, 1992:18). Following the  For detailed discussions on these two research traditions, see for example, Goldenberg, 1992 and Hammersley, 1992. 3  67  qualitative tradition, this technique emphasizes "free interaction between the researcher and the interviewee" from which discovery and description are maximized (Reinhartz, 1992:18). In so doing, it gives the interviewees opportunities to tell their ideas, thoughts, opinions and experiences in their own words within the parameters and the structure set out by the researcher. The role of the interviewer is to learn about the contexts, for example, in terms of race, class and gender, and relate them to the interviewee as it would be "unrealistic to expect that every interviewee will explicitly articulate all categories of social existence" (Cuadraz and Uttal, 1999:171). The semi-structured interviews allow the researcher to set the guidelines and parameters in the form of open questions. These questions are designed in advance in a logical sequence of themes and temporality. Yet during the interview, the questions do not have to be followed strictly. Interviewees are given a high degree of flexibility and autonomy in controlling the organization, sequencing and length of their narratives. To keep these narratives in focus, the interviewer is in the position to direct and re-direct the interviewee to stay within the parameters of the research agenda. This depends on the external circumstances, motivation, knowledge and experience of the interviewee, the subjective interpretations of the interview reality by both the interviewer and the interviewee, and the perceived interactions and relations between them. Therefore, each interview is unique in itself. Depending on the circumstances and the judgements of the interviewer, some questions may never be asked while others are added to probe for more details. The interview technique is particularly appealing to feminist research when the researcher is a woman because this technique "draws on skills in the traditional feminine  68  role - a passive, receptive, open, understanding approach ... recognizing and responding to other's feeling and being able to talk about sensitive issues without threatening the participant" (cf. Reinhartz, 1992:20). In fact, some feminists argue that it is necessary for women, particularly those who share the same culture, to interview women in order to understand each other. This "insider" location of the interviewer has additional advantages. With the emphasis on understanding and empathy, the "insider" approach will avoid ethnocentrism in the interview, which in turn will help building more egalitarian and trustful relationships between the interviewer and the interviewee. Such egalitarianism, by facilitating a dialogue between the two parties, is beneficial to the interview in two ways. While on the one hand, the interviewee will become more committed, open and engaged in telling her personal stories, the interviewer, on the other hand, will also be eager to disclose her own experiences, which may in turn help elicit more detailed and in-depth information from the interviewee. Despite of the fact that egalitarianism is valuable in the interview-interviewee relationship, difficulties may arise in real situations, as some researchers have documented (see for example, Acker, et.al., 1996; Gorelick, 1996; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1996). Since women interviewers and interviewees are less likely to come from the same backgrounds, there is always the possibility of interviewing up or down (Riehnartz, 1992). In most cases feminist research involves interviewing down with the researcher seen as the knowledgeable middle-class healthy intellectual and the interviewees as the poor or the unemployed, or victims of wife abuse and rape. In such a scenerio, empathy and self-disclosure on the part of the interviewer would work to reduce unequal relationships. However, the situation will be different when the interviewer is  69  interviewing up. To increase credibility and status, and to gain trust from the interviewee, the interviewer has to adopt the humble role of a learner and listener rather than the authoritarian role of the researcher. In either case, unequal relationships are inevitable, and reciprocity is difficult to attain. I found the philosophical tradition of the interpretive or qualitative method, and in particular the feminist approach from which it derives, suitable for my research. With the goals of exploring, collecting and analyzing detailed and nuance experiences of women entrepreneurs generated by an 'insider' perspective, I saw the advantage of using a qualitative approach. However, recognizing its drawbacks where no universal principles, no scientific proofs, no tests for truth, or accurate and valid representations are possible, I understand that my research purpose would fall short of generalizeability and representativeness. I chose semi-structured intensive interviews over other qualitative methods such as ethnography or participant observation for the purposes of eliciting broader coverage and minimizing time constraints. While I believe that researcher mediation is necessary to guide the subjects in telling their stories, I also recognize the potential problem of researchers' subjective construction of reality when actively involved in 'representing' the stories told by the informants. In order to counter this problem, I have to be highly sensitive to the "moral responsibility" (Richardson, 1995) of my role as a sociologist and acquire a "sociological imagination" (Acker, et.al., 1996) that should help in my systematic reconstructions of reality. In lieu of these attempts, it is also important to acknowledge the limitations of sociological research, which is likely to produce  70  knowledge that is limited, relative, transient, and therefore should always be subject to future reinterpretation and reconstruction (Acker, et.al, 1996; Richardson, 1995).  Research Design This study focuses on Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs in Richmond. The fixity in space is theoretically motivated. The purpose is to avoid any inconsistent structural and cultural factors due to locality that could have impacted on these women and their entrepreneurship. The sample, therefore, is confined to Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs who immigrated from Hong Kong and ended up doing business in Richmond, B.C. These women may not have been born in Hong Kong, but they have to at least identify themselves as Hong Kong Chinese. They do not have to live in Richmond, but their businesses have to be located there. M y subjects included those who identify themselves as Hong Kong Chinese, born outside of Canada but immigrated from Hong Kong, who have, alone or with one or more partners, started up, bought or inherited a business, and are actively participating in the firm's day-to-day operation. This definition includes those who own and manage their business in or outside of their home. The reason for including home-based businesses is at least twofold (Prahst, 1995). First, home-based businesses have been neglected in past research and second, they have increased in importance as a result of recent economic restructuring. One major category that is not included in this research is that of the selfemployed, which consists of those who affiliate with business establishments but are classified as self-employed for tax purposes because of the nature of their work and monetary reward. Examples are the ones who work as real estate agents, insurance  71  brokers, financial and mortgage brokers, and the like. They are not classified as entrepreneurs because they do not own the business enterprises themselves. M y target sample was fifty women. Since the purpose of my research was not for representativeness and generalizability, it would not be necessary to engage in a 'scientific' procedure to get a large sample so that the findings would be statistically significant. After all, knowledge of the population of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women in Richmond was unknown, and therefore there was no sampling frame from which a sample could be generated. I planned to recruit these women using a number of venues. First, I would place advertisements in the two most popular Chinese newspapers: Sing Tao Daily and Ming Pao Daily. Then I planned to place recruitment notices on bulletin boards and in newsletters of various business associations, community service organizations, Chinese malls and Chinese churches. Ultimately I would seek referrals from friends, relatives and subjects themselves. The intention was to recruit subjects from different sources initially, and then expand by means of snowballing . 4  The research technique I would employ is the semi-structured interviews. Even though the interviews were meant to be flexible and interviewee-led as the qualitative methods suggested, I still designed an interview schedule in advance, which consisted of open-ended questions arranged in temporal sequence. There are four sections to the interview schedule . The first section consists of questions on personal background and 5  immigration history, such as place of birth, family background, education level, marital status, family status, age, place of residence, year of immigration, nature of immigration,  Snowballing is a nonprobability sampling technique in which a starting case nominates others that in turn nominates still others (Golderberg, 1992). The interview questionnaire was adopted with some changes from Prahst (1995) and is attached in Appendix B. 4  5  72  principal applicant of immigration, reasons for immigration, etc. The second section is about the work history of the subjects. Questions are arranged in a sequence to delineate a chronology of work and business experiences before and after immigration. The third section focuses on current businesses with questions on the nature of ownership and business, the reasons for starting and the process of business start-up, employee and client relations, relations with bankers and suppliers, as well as involvement of self, family and friends, etc. Finally, questions on the general views and experiences on business success, racism, and sexism are included. Before the actual interviews were carried out, pretests were to be administered on three Hong Kong Chinese women entrepreneurs, all known to the researcher either as a relative or a friend. The finalized questionnaire would be bilingual, in both English and Chinese (Mandarin ). 6  The interviews were scheduled to begin in the summer of 1996. A l l interviews would be conducted in the dialect or language preferred by the subjects. Being able to speak fluently the three of the most widely spoken dialects among Hong Kong Chinese immigrants in Vancouver, that is, Cantonese, Mandarin and Shanghainese, I did not anticipate any communication difficulties. For the purpose of maintaining accuracy and originality, the interviews were recorded on audio-tapes, with the subject's consent. After each interview, the audio-recording was transcribed and translated on paper. While the research design describes the original plan of my research, the actual experience, as with most qualitative methods, may be quite different from the plan. In adhering to the principles of feminist methodology on discovery and development, it  Mandarin, also known as Putunghwa in the People's Republic of China, is the official Chinese spoken language. It is also the universal written language for all Chinese. Specifically, Mandarin represents the complex textual form used outside of China while Putunghwa is the abbreviated form used only in China. 6  73  would not be surprising to find that practice deviated from the design. The following will provide a detailed account of what actually happened during the course of my research.  The Pretest Experience and The Interview Schedule After the interview schedule was finished, I did a pretest on three women entrepreneurs who were known to me. One was my relative, and the other two, my friends. A l l three interviews were carried out in Cantonese, and took approximately two hours to complete. The feedback on the questions was in general positive. None of them found any of the questions sensitive or intrusive. One even made the comment that it was not as big a deal as she thought it would be, meaning that she expected the questions to be tougher. A l l three interviews started out to be highly structured, probably due to the nature of the questions (on background information) and the initial tense atmosphere. The tension began to ease off a great deal came the section on work history. I was successful in letting the subjects take control of their stories, and directing them back to the issue when they went too far off topic. Thus, all interviews did not follow the exact sequencing of the questions. The pretest became a learning experience for me more than a test of the questionnaire. The bilingual script was confusing rather than helpful. I noticed that I was reading and translating into Cantonese directly from the English text, seeing this to be more convenient and comfortable than to read and translate directly from Mandarin into Cantonese. This was probably because I was used to going between English and Cantonese in my everyday life. Translating Mandarin into Cantonese, to me, actually involved a more complex procedure: I would translate from Mandarin to English first,  In Hong Kong, while the official dialect is Cantonese, which is a spoken dialect, the written language is still in Mandarin (complex) form.  74  then from English back to Cantonese. Besides, because the use of vocabulary is different between Mandarin and Cantonese, when I tried to read the Mandarin text in Cantonese, the interviewees sometimes could not understand, and I had to explain further what the question "actually" meant. Anticipating most interviews would be conducted in Cantonese, I gave up on the idea of bilingual questions, and decided to drop the Mandarin version of it. As I shall discuss in greater detail later, language becomes an issue when a researcher who designs and reports in one language but has to carry out the research in another. The three pretest interviews helped me to notice the problem. But they did not help me to alleviate it. The art of interviewing using Cantonese, a spoken dialect, actually improved throughout the entire research experience, getting better interview after interview. I did not make major changes to the interview schedule as I found all the questions adequately representing my research themes and issues. But I did put a mark on those I found problematic, and added a few reminders for probes. A n issue was added to the questionnaire as the interviews went along. I learned through the interview process that the age of both the entrepreneurs and target customers was an important factor that should not be overlooked and needed exploration. M y pretest led me challenge the rigidity of the research tradition and the significance of the entire pretest procedure, particularly on doing semi-structured interviews. How much can we learn from the pretest, with such a limited experience? How many interviews should be considered as pretest before the final interview schedule could be established? Or, is there a final interview schedule? In my case, the three pretest interviews only helped me to become more familiar with the interview experience  75  and to build up my confidence, but did not contribute much to the content of the interview schedule. The kind of questions asked, when they are asked and how detailed they need to be, or even the appropriateness of asking them are entirely situational. They cannot be fixed as a result of the problems noticed in the pretest experience. In addition, the use of language and wording in Cantonese relative to the original English text was more a cumulative experience, getting better interview after interview that went beyond the pretest stage. I found that each interview became a pretest for the ones to follow. To me, then, the entire research experience is a learning process, one in which openness and flexibility are the keys to understanding your subjects and their experiences. A pretest may work very well in quantitative research methods that have a formally prescribed structured questionnaire. But for semi-structured interviews, even though the pretest had certain merits in enhancing the interview experience, its contribution was in general limited.  The Sampling Experience Before I started the interviews, I decided to do some promotion regarding my research. With the help of a friend who worked in a Chinese community service organization I was introduced to a reporter from a Chinese newspaper who agreed to do a feature story on my research. After an interview with me, the feature story was printed on June 22,1996 . This story was partly promotional and partly for recruitment purpose. Along with a picture of me, it detailed my family, education and work backgrounds, the purpose of the research, and my contact phone number. As far as I am concerned, this story worked to sell the idea to potential subjects. Most important of all, it would clear  A copy of this feature story is attached in Appendix C. Please note that I used Frances Chik as my name during the research. 7  76  their doubts and queries and help building trust and rapport. It revealed what the research was about and who the researcher was, and it confirmed the genuineness of the project. The only problem I had was my personal information including my home phone number being publicized. Yet I justified this as the risk any devoted and zealous researcher must take. While waiting for potential subjects to call, I made contact with kin and friends for referrals. As some of them were enthusiastic in helping me out, I started to get informants almost immediately; and in no time the interview schedule was packed. The first interview was done on June 23, 1996, and by the end of July, I had done twenty-two interviews. The busiest day was conducting three interviews in one single day! In the meantime, I received no calls from volunteers. Not a single person responded to the feature story. So, two weeks later, I placed advertisements in the 8  Chinese newspapers as planned. Again, I heard nothing from the community. I started to post recruitment notices on bulletin boards in various Chinese organizations and 9  churches. Nothing happened. Until one day when I talked with a community service leader asking him to give me space to post my recruitment notice, he convinced me that this was a useless procedure. "The Chinese are not active." He said, "They would read the notice, agree with it, but do nothing. It would be more fruitful i f you got your subjects through friends and personal encounters... Besides, business people, unlike other people, are very busy. They don't have spare time to offer." Since my interviews started to pile up through referrals and I heard nothing from the unknown population, I decided not to depend on volunteers any more. Instead, I  8  9  See Appendix C for details. The recruitment notice is bilingual. See Appendix C for details.  77  concentrated on establishing referral networks. I began by approaching friends, relatives and association leaders. A number of relatives were extremely helpful. Their referrals got the interviews started, and the networking webs began to build (See Appendix D , 10  Diagrams 1, 2 and 3). In the meantime, two friends agreed to participate. The referral systems started to proliferate, and the interview schedule also began to pile up. As a researcher, I felt that I was vulnerable when I had little control over the time, the date and the place of the interview. Too afraid to lose them, I let my potential subjects decide the schedule that fit them best. As long as there was no time conflict, I would agree to it. The way the interviews turned out, I found myself having no time and energy to follow up on my other friends and relatives. I did not even have time to transcribe notes. The rush went on for one and a half months and by the time I interviewed twenty-six women, the networks began to be exhausted. I started to panic when there were no more leads on hand. Since no strangers volunteered despite a number of gestures made to recruit them, I tried to contact more association leaders for referrals. But I was unable to recruit any further interviewees from them. The main reason they gave was the relative non-participation of women entrepreneurs in their associations. A s one business association leader commented, "We've got very few business women as members. Most of the participants are either the self-employed such as insurance brokers or realtors, or professional people." A community service organization leader gave a similar response, "You don't find business women participating in organizations like ours. Women who join our organizations, for example, the women's group or parents' group, are either seniors or housewives."  I have attached diagrams of referral network in Appendix D.  78  Desperately I followed up on friends and relatives who had not yet responded. This time I was able to get one or two referrals from each of them. I also started to call on business acquaintances for an interview if they were women, and for referrals 11  otherwise. I avoided them in the first place because I did not want to impose on them as a customer. Out of the five people I contacted, only one refused to be interviewed. The others either consented to be interviewed or referred someone to me. But strangely enough, the interviews during this period did not lead to further referrals (See Diagram 4 in Appendix D). The help of a friend deserves some special attention. I interviewed her at the beginning of the research but she did not give me any referrals when I asked. In respecting her decision both as a friend and as a subject, I did not pursue further. As my list of potential interviewees began to be exhausted, I started to whine about it to her casually. Understanding my difficulty, she suggested a name. She even contacted the person for me and asked for her commitment. In the meantime something came up in her business that she asked for my help to write English business letters for her. What followed was that while I continued to be her business correspondent she continued to 12  refer subjects to me as an exchange of favours. Such a relationship led to twelve referrals from which six more were generated (see Diagram 5 in Appendix D). Delighted in a way that this was going to fill my research quota, I began to worry about biased representation. Although it was not my intention to make my sample representative, and there was no way to test for it, I still did not wish my sample to be concentrated in any given area. It turned out that out of the twelve women she referred,  By business acquaintances I mean the business people I know through my relation with them as customers or clients. 11  79  ten had their business located i n the same mall.  In order to correct for this concentration,  I decided to expand m y sample from fifty to sixty people. In the end, I was able to interview fifty-eight women, two short o f m y new target. Out o f these fifty-eight women, a total o f fourteen had their businesses i n this very same mall. M y sample ended up to be comprised entirely o f referrals from relatives, friends, association leaders and business acquaintances. A s a result, the refusal rate was very low. Out o f all the women contacted for this research, only eight refused to be interviewed. But when I studied the details o f the referral networks, I noticed that the refusal to refer was high: Over half o f the subjects did not offer any referrals after the interview. This was probably because I was not pushing hard for it. T o me the willingness to sacrifice their time and energy to participate was already a favour. I did not want to force them to give me more names i f it was not out o f their free w i l l . I considered that beyond the limit o f a researcher, and therefore exploitative. Reflecting on m y sampling experience, I noticed that the aspect o f familiarity was extremely important for doing qualitative research. The more one is familiar with the people and community under study, the easier the access is. U n l i k e some researchers who are strangers to the community, I do not have to take deliberate steps to familiarize myself with it. A s a member o f the community under study, I have been doing that as an everyday routine. M y informants are m y friends, m y relatives, m y business acquaintances, and their friends, their relatives or their business acquaintances.  They  were w i l l i n g to be interviewed or to make referrals because I look familiar, act familiar and think i n familiar ways. I am, at least physically and culturally, an insider. Out o f this  To this date, I am still called upon for language assistance.  80  familiarity trust was built. Though I do not explicitly dispute the value of outsider researchers, their work definitely would face more challenges than mine. Trust also has an impact on the non-response rate from the community at large. Past survey research has demonstrated that the non-response rate on research conducted on business people has always been high (e.g. Fischer, 1992; Light and Bonanich, 1988). Ethnographic studies like the one done by Wong (1988) on the Chinese in New York also wrote about the norm of non-participation of outsiders, "Most of the people given in-depth interviews were friends and friends of friends. Among these interviewees were oldtime family friends who knew me when I was a child in China. They were most willing to talk about their career histories and success stories. ... they provided introductions to many resourceful informants who normally did not give interviews to outsiders." (19) One of my subjects echoed this, "I would not grant you the interview i f it were not because of June [her friend, my referee]. How do I know whether you are a disguised Revenue Canada agent or not? I don't mean that I have problem with taxes. But I know the government do things like that." (Tania) 13  It seems that non-response to research was quite common among the Chinese. Building trust and rapport between the interviewer and the interviewee is therefore very important for any in-depth qualitative methods. In my case, the referral system worked as a bridge between the researcher and the subject through which trust and rapport was established. Lacking that would make the interview less successful.  The Contact Experience I must be fortunate to have known and be related to some helpful friends and relatives. Out of the fifty-eight women I interviewed, the initial contact was almost  81  completely made by the referee. Whether this is common practice in the business world or it is uniquely the Chinese way is hard to say. What is true though is that my referees, either to show their sincerity to me or not to give surprises to their friends, or both, would brief them about the research and myself before I made my contact. Some of them got their consent even before I approached them. Not only that, some even had the appointment dates set up for me. In any case, I still followed the ethical guidelines in making contact with my subjects. No matter what the referee had done, I would follow a set routine. M y very first contact with my subjects was usually over the phone. Only three out of all the contacts were done in person. And these were the people I personally knew. During our first conversation I would initially acknowledge the referee, and then introduce myself and the project. The referee was used here to build commonality and trust. To show my sincerity and the seriousness of the project, I would then follow up with a formal invitation letter. This letter has two versions: English and Chinese (Mandarin) . To 14  further prove the genuineness of the project and to build trust, I would send along a copy of my feature story printed in the Chinese newspaper. In order to save cost, I would do it by facsimile . Despite some women having already consented to be interviewed before 15  my call, or were about to set up an appointment on my first call, I still took the effort to send them these necessary documents. Under normal circumstances, I would call them back a few days later to set up an appointment. My contact to a large extent was successful, thanks to the help from my referees. Their help is further evident when I studied the refusals. Out of the seven people who  13  14  This name and all names used thereafter are pseudonyms. A copy of this letter is attached in Appendix E.  82  refused to participate, six were not briefed by the referees on the project before my initial contact. Without the referee bridging the two unknown parties, the contact stood a higher chance of failure. Unlike ethnographic research, intensive interviews lack the time to establish rapport with the informants. Hence, I had to depend on the referral system to fill that gap. Upon setting up an appointment, I let my subjects choose the time, date and place for the interview. They usually selected a time and a date when they were least busy. It could be early in the morning or after office hours for some, late in the evening for others. Some chose weekdays; other chose weekends. With respect to place, a majority (thirty-four) of them preferred to have the interview carried out in their office or store, usually before or after operating hours, or during a time when business was slow. Their home was the next favorite place (sixteen). However, a few asked me i f they could come to my house. These three people all happened to be close friends of my relatives. Another four women preferred to be interviewed in a restaurant. They selected a time when the restaurant was not busy, for example, early morning, or late at night. And the choice they made was interesting to note. A l l four of them selected a restaurant where few Chinese would go. One woman explained, "Too many [Chinese] people know me here [in Richmond]. I don't want people to catch me being interviewed. They're very nosy, you know. I don't want word to spread around..." The way she expressed it, it seems that, to some, being interviewed is quite an embarrassing matter. It is not something people want to boast about. This could explain why some women preferred to be interviewed in private, in their home, or my home, or alone in their office/store without the presence of employees. This may well be a major reason why many declined  15  This is not a problem as almost all businesses have a fax machine in the office these days. 83  to make any referrals to me after the interview, and why nobody volunteered in the first place.  The Interview Experience The interview period began at the end of June in 1996 and ended in May of 1997. Despite the rush during the first one and a half months through which twenty-six interviews were done, except for three, the other interviews were spread out during the last quarter of 1996. Due to different reasons, the three exceptions whom I contacted in 1996 could only find time in the following year. At the beginning of each interview, I would bring along a consent form, a tape recorder, note pads and the questionnaire. I would usually dress between formal business attire and casual wear. Since all of them would picture me as an academic and a researcher before they met me, I tried to appear as such without getting too business like or otherwise. I didn't have to "dress down" as some researchers suggested when they dealt with subjects who are in general underprivileged. Handing name cards is normal practice among business people. In anticipation, I had mine ready. As expected, exchanging name cards became the routine for greetings. Handing out my name card in this case also served the added bonus of building trust. This is essential as Carty (1996) has noted in her research that sharing a similar background with the subjects alone does not "create an atmosphere of automatic trust and understanding" (139). Before getting into business, I would socialize with the subjects to break the ice. I would then take out the consent form, explain it to them in detail, and ask them to sign it. I also explained the benefits of audio-taping the interview. Even though before each  84  interview I would expect some difficulties in convincing my subject to let me tape the interview, to my surprise, all but one consented to do so. There are pros and cons in regards to audio-taping the interviews. One of the strengths is of course the detailed recording of not only texts but also expressions. By going through the tapes, the researcher, on top of reproducing the exact texts, is able to recapture the lively contexts in which the stories were narrated. Another good point about audio-taping is that it allows the interviewer to concentrate entirely on the interaction, and subsequently able to engage in more fruitful communication. The third advantage is with respect to information reduction. Without the use of a tape-recorder, the researcher has to select and sort information on the spot, and instantly reproduce it in written texts. This could easily lead to the production of misinformation or non-representation of important information. When reproduction of information is postponed to a later time after the interviews are taped, it can be done in a more discreet manner. With respect to the problems of audiotaping, a common drawback is its formal aspect, when subjects may not speak as freely with the recording machine on. To overcome this barrier, the interviewer has to make extra effort to ease off such pressure, to make the subjects less conscious about their stories being taped. A great majority of the interviews were conducted entirely in Cantonese, with a few English words and phrases interjected here and there - a typical Hong Kong style of communication. Five interviews were carried out with English as the major medium and Cantonese as secondary. These women have been immigrants to Canada for a long period of time, and are well educated, holding either a professional or graduate degree.  85  Only one interview was conducted in Mandarin. Even for that one, we started out with Cantonese, and switched casually to Mandarin as it went along. The interviews usually started in a structured format for two reasons. First, the interview began with questions on background which were more structured in a strict question-answer format. Second, the interaction between the interviewer and the subject had not warmed up yet. It did require some time for both the subject and the interviewer to adapt to the interview situation. After the first section of the interview was finished, when we got into the second section that was on career history, the interviewee usually became more relaxed, and started to tell her stories. Simultaneously, I would respond, verbally and in gesture, by showing interest, empathy, ignorance, and agreement; often with echoes of confirmation with my own experiences where I saw appropriate. In most interviews, I successfully eased the pressure and broke down barriers between the subjects and myself as the interview went alon