Being and Belonging: Minority Within Minority

Being and Belonging: Minority Within Minority

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7631-0.ch007

Abstract

This chapter analyzes the themes of “assimilation” or “alienation” in the UK from the perspective of the Black African entrepreneurship dovetailing into the issue of double jeopardy against women. The objective is to highlight the perceived sense of inclusion or exclusion among the entrepreneurs and incidentally raise the issue of the penalties around African women entrepreneurship in the UK.
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Being And Belonging

Ojo (2013) study argues for the existence of a link between the event of Black African entrepreneurship and levels of ‘assimilation’ or ‘alienation’ in the UK. The study findings revealed a low level of assimilation and high level of alienation of most of the respondents’ entrepreneurs in the UK that reflect the state of their sense of belonging. Other studies have also pointed to the widespread references to Africa as ‘Home’ by many Black Africans in the diaspora (e.g., Nwankwo, 2005; Ojo, Nwankwo, & Gbadamosi, 2013). This phenomenon, according to Ojo (2013) could be examined from three perspectives. First, the evidence of cultural hybridity and marginality seems to point to borderline existence and disjunction, and displacement in the Black African entrepreneurs’ life-world. This is in addition to the difficulties the entrepreneurs encounter when deploying their ethnic background to drive their products embeddedness and legitimacy - a necessary task bearing in mind the relevancy of ethnic minority cultures in contemporary British society. Such cultures are often broadly structured in vastly detrimental terms as ‘other’ and by connotation, with socio-economic disadvantage. Black African entrepreneurs are likely to have to deal with their minority status in their legitimacy-seeking entrepreneurial narratives as long as they operate in an environment where they are in the minority such as in the UK. However, how they deploy such background is not easily predictable. On the one hand, it has been argued that it is particularly hard to reconcile a minority background with dominant discourses of entrepreneurship which reflect personality traits associated with white men, to ‘fit in’ (Essers & Benschop, 2007). On the other, so long an ethnic minority background is discursively constructed as ‘otherness’ it might also provide specific opportunities to claim difference and authenticity, ‘standing out’ and thus rather fostering one’s legitimacy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Acculturation: Refers to the process of social, cultural, and psychological adjustment of groups of individuals as a result of continuous direct contact between them.

Cosmopolitan Identity: Refers to the broadening of individual’s sense of belonging from ethnicity or nationality (narrow) to global perspective (wider).

Intersectionality: Refers to the interconnections between multiple identities (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, and sexuality) and experiences of exclusion.

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