Kloosterman, R.C. and J. Rath (2018) ‘Mixed Embeddedness Revisited: A Conclusion to the Symposium’, Symposium From the Mixed Embeddedness Approach to What? edited by E. Barberis and G. Solano, Sociologica, 12(2): 103-114.
The mixed embeddedness approach, more than many other approaches, aims at exploring this complex phenomenon of migrant entrepreneurship. It offers a basic and versatile framework to address key questions regarding the relationship between the resources of migrant entrepreneurs and the kind of opportunities for businesses they exploit. More specifically, the approach allow us to explore on a more structural level the sorting processes of migrant entrepreneurs and the subsequent “ethnic division of entrepreneurial labour.” On a more abstract level, the mixed embeddedness can be seen as a critical realist approach as we ascribe causal power to deeper lying structures — in our case the opportunity structure — which are not directly observable. This way, we aim to shed light on the relationship between agency and structure, a perennial key issue in social sciences.
This paper — part of a Symposium – briefly discuss how the mixed embeddedness approach came into being. Thereafter the basic components of the approach are being highlighted. It is argued why such an approach is superior to other, more mono-causal approaches. The contribution concludes by pointing to the adjustments that the model has undergone since its introduction in the late 1990s.