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The intersection of class, race, ethnicity, gender and migration : subtitle a case study of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurs in Richmond, British Columbia Chiang, Frances Shiu-Ching

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.

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