Leveraging symbolic capital:The use of ‘blat’ networks across transnational spaces

Rodgers, Peter, Vershinina, Natalia, Williams, Colin C. and Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas (2018). Leveraging symbolic capital:The use of ‘blat’ networks across transnational spaces. Global Networks, In pre ,

Abstract

This article contributes to debates on how social networks sustain migrants’ entrepreneurial activities. Reporting on thirty-one interviews with Eastern European migrants in the UK, this article provides a critical lens on the tendency to assume that migrants have ready-made social networks within the host country embedded within co-ethnic communities. We extend this limited perspective by demonstrating how ‘blat’ social networks, which were formulated within the cultural and political contours of Soviet society are being transformed within the everyday lived experiences of Eastern European migrants working in the UK. Our findings highlight not only the monetarization of such networks but also the continuing embedded nature of trust existing within these networks, which cut across transnational spaces. We show how forms of social capital based around Russian language use and legacies of a shared Soviet past, are just as important as the role of ‘co-ethnics’ and ‘co-migrants’ in facilitating business development. In doing so, we present a more nuanced understanding of the role that symbolic capital plays in migrant entrepreneurial journeys and its multifaceted nature.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12188
Divisions: Aston Business School > Work & organisational psychology
Aston Business School > Work & organisational psychology research group
Additional Information: © 2018 Global Networks Partnership & John Wiley & Sons Ltd This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: blat,migration,transnational,eastern European,entrepreneurship
Published Date: 2018-01-16
Published Online Date: 2018-01-16
Authors: Rodgers, Peter
Vershinina, Natalia
Williams, Colin C.
Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas

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