Placing Migrant Entrepreneurship: Migrant Economy Debates through New Spatial Lenses


  • Hugo Valenzuela-Garcia Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • Berta Güell Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • Sònia Parella Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • José Luis Molina Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Miranda Jessica Lubbers Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.



space, place, migrant economy, transnationalism, globalisation


The category of space is essential in migration studies and it is implicitly present in the literature about migrant entrepreneurs. However, there is a lack of understanding of how the shifting nature of space as a result of the transnational dynamics of late capitalism’s work developments has affected the way migrant economies are framed and apprehended. Whilst initial debates tended to present a static, bidirectional, circumscribed notion of space considering migrant businesses within the logics of inclusion/exclusion in ethnic neighbourhoods, the latest approaches usually illustrate it as dynamic, ductile and liquid thanks to the influence of globalisation and the paradigms of mobility and circulation. This article seeks to synthesize and critically review mainstream literature on migrant entrepreneurship from a spatial perspective and reflect on the shifting nature of the ontology of space. It highlights the context in which each theoretical approach was coined with empirical case studies and points out its own limitations in dialogue with the evolution of migrant economies’ debates. Finally, the conclusions present both a summary and a proposal for constructing a more accurate theoretical framework for the study of future migrant economies through new spatial lenses.


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How to Cite

Valenzuela-Garcia, H., Güell, B., Parella, S., Molina, J. L., & Lubbers, M. J. (2018). Placing Migrant Entrepreneurship: Migrant Economy Debates through New Spatial Lenses. Sociologica, 12(2), 39–56.