Ethnic Economy in Milano: the Case of the Turkish Immigrants in the Kebab Sector





ethnic entrepreneurship, integration, ethnic economy, migration, ethnicity


The concept of ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the economy represents the employment patterns in the particular country. Immigrants often experience discrimination and exclusion in the labor market and the outcome of this process is the high rate of unemployment. On the contrary, the ethnic economy could be regarded as a promising alternative to unemployment among immigrants. With this decision, immigrant entrepreneurs create their own business and support other immigrants if the business is successful. Currently, immigrant entrepreneurs are comprising big part of urban economies. Besides contributing to the economics of the countries, immigrant entrepreneurs also open the way for the integration of immigrants in the countries of settlement. By creating ethnic economy to overcome discrimination and exclusion, immigrants are making themselves attractive and integrated into the host society.

In Italy, migrants from Turkey often are self-employed in the kebab fast-food restaurant sector. The ethnic economy plays a significant role to overcome discrimination and create integration channels. Data were obtained from interviews with migrants from Turkey who arrived in Milano in the years between 1988-2010. In Italy, many migrants from Turkey are immigrating for the purpose of work, study, and so on. In general, the kebab sector entrepreneurs migrated to Milan as asylum-seekers. Like any other post-industrial/low-skilled market, the kebab sector is easily accessible and attractive for many aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs. Thanks to the low demand for human capital and no requirement for special skills, therefore, Turkish immigrants preferred this sector. Turkish immigrants as ethnic entrepreneurs are open to new opportunities. The result of the study highlights the question of how did the Turkish immigrants manage their own insertion and incorporation into the host society.



2023-11-17 — Updated on 2023-11-17

Author Biography

Şelale Balambar, Middle East Technical University

Şelale Balambar Ergan studied city and regional planning for her bachelor's degree, focusing on topics like urban politics, design, heritage conservation, migration, and ethnic economy. She graduated from the City and Regional Planning program at METU in 2013. After that, she pursued a Master's degree in Urban Policy Planning and Local Governments, where she conducted research for her thesis. Following the Master's, she got accepted into the City and Regional Planning PhD Program at METU in Turkey.


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