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The embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurship in a closed ethnic community.

Smith, Robert; McElwee, Gerard


Robert Smith

Gerard McElwee


There is an emerging body of literature which attempts to differentiate between the conceptual and theoretical aspects of legal and illegal, amoral and immoral entrepreneurial practice. Legal and illegal entrepreneurship are regarded as separate spheres of study but little is written which considers the actual consequences to individuals, communities and places which arise from such enterprise. In this invited paper, we examine a powerful case of embedded illegal enterprise in a closed ethnic community, exposed through a fatal explosion in an illegal alcohol still in Boston, Lincolnshire, UK. Boston in Lincoln, or 'Bostongraad' as we ironically relabel it here. This study combines a literature review on illegal entrepreneurship with observations based on documentary research methodology. A typology of enterprise orientated crime committed is provided. This paper demonstrates the embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurial activity and outlines a typological schema for differentiating between the informal economy, illicit and enterprise, illegal enterprise and criminal entrepreneurship.


SMITH, R. and MCELWEE, G., 2013. The embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurship in a closed ethnic community. International journal of business and globalisation [online], 11(1), pages 45-62. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2013
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2013
Publication Date Dec 31, 2013
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jan 6, 2014
Journal International journal of business and globalisation
Print ISSN 1753-3627
Electronic ISSN 1753-3635
Publisher Inderscience
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 45-62
Keywords Organised crime groups; Criminal Entrepreneurship; Illegal entrepreneurs; Informal economy
Public URL


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