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

Abstract

In this article, we contribute to debates on how social networks sustain migrants' entrepreneurial activities. By reporting on 31 interviews with Eastern European migrants in the UK, we provide a critical lens on the tendency to assume that migrants have ready-made social networks in the host country embedded in co-ethnic communities. We extend this limited perspective by demonstrating how Eastern European migrants working in the UK transform blat social networks, formulated in the cultural and political contours of Soviet society, in their everyday lived experiences. 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 on 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
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: RODGERS, P. , VERSHININA, N. , WILLIAMS, C. C. and THEODORAKOPOULOS, N. (2019), Leveraging symbolic capital: the use of blat networks across transnational spaces. Global Networks, 19: 119-136, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12188.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: BLAT,EASTERN EUROPEAN,ENTREPRENEURSHIP,MIGRATION,TRANSNATIONAL,Social Sciences(all)
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Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1111/glob.12188 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2019-01-01
Published Online Date: 2018-01-16
Accepted Date: 2017-09-17
Authors: Rodgers, Peter
Vershinina, Natalia
Williams, Colin C.
Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2262-0054)

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