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Mobilising identity: entrepreneurial practice of a 'disadvantaged' identity.

James, Imaobong; Xiong, Lin; Anderson, Alistair R.


Lin Xiong

Alistair R. Anderson


We examine how female migrant entrepreneurs overturn disadvantage through social resourcing. We argue they are disadvantaged by the intersectionality of their identities; that social constructions and ensuing entrepreneurial expectations are a poor fit with their ascribed identity, that they are marginalised by their ‘otherness’. However, entrepreneurship is not only socially situated, but also socially enacted. We studied their entrepreneurial social enactment and found they had used agency to mobilise their identity. The shared identity of marginality as cultural strangers fostered a sense of togetherness as social capital. In turn, this produced group social responsibility, a socialised obligation to help each other. The entrepreneurs used this intangible resource to first establish their businesses then as a platform for wider engagements. We found that when the entrepreneurial self became superimposed on intersectional identity, disadvantage almost disappeared. Respondents reported confidence in themselves through their entrepreneurial achievement, paradoxically empowered by a negative social identity.


JAMES, I., XIONG, L. and ANDERSON, A.R. 2022. Mobilising identity: entrepreneurial practice of a 'disadvantaged' identity. European management review [online], 19(3), pages 436-449. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 15, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 6, 2021
Publication Date Nov 30, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 19, 2021
Journal European management review
Print ISSN 1740-4754
Electronic ISSN 1740-4762
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 436-449
Keywords Entrepreneurial practices; Small business owners; Identity; Marginality; Migrant women; Entrepreneurs; Disadvantaged entrepreneurs; Social capital; Networks; Intersectionality; Gender; Ethnic minorities; BAME; Strategy
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